Ashton Reagin

Branch: Marine Corps

Duty Station: US Merchant Marine Academy

Number of Deployments: 5

Number of PCS's: 7

Share your military spouse story:
My story as a military spouse has been one of both triumphs and struggles. I married my Marine at the young age of 19 and was thrust into this chaotic lifestyle quickly. I moved across the country away from my family as a newlywed and within 6 months, my husband was deployed. We would spend our first anniversary apart which set the stage for what was to come. As I became more seasoned as a spouse and encountered many obstacles along the way, I knew that it was an honor to be married to a United States Marine that serves our country and fights for the rights and freedom of everyone in the United States, not just my small family. My perspective shifted. Through the storm, struggles, and anxiety; are joyful moments riddled with laughter and adventure. Throughout the past 13 years as a military spouse, I've had three beautiful children, created a job for myself when I couldn't find one, built my career, created a military lifestyle brand and mobile application, and earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. This military life is an adventure that so few get to experience. I am proud to call myself a military spouse. However, I am also so much more just as every military spouse is. We are resilient, educated, talented, strong, flexible, decisive, and proud, just to name a few.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I've had the privilege to serve on the advisory committee for two military focused start-up brands and have provided mentorship for new spouses. I also championed a leadership/mentorship group to develop an organization that is truly representative of the demographic it's created for. Currently, I am part of the senior leadership team of an organization that was founded on the very notion that military spouses and veterans possess the skills needed to provide onshore outsourcing services to large organizations. I am proud to lead the marketing charge for such a stellar business. I also run/manage the Organized Chaos brand and blog managing a variety of military spouse writers.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I have always rooted for my fellow military spouses and I am passionate about seeing them succeed! As I attempted to streamline my own life while preparing for another separation from my service member, I realized that I possessed the experience needed to help others streamline their lives. As a result, I created Organized Chaos, a military lifestyle brand and mobile application. I am also the Vice President of Marketing for Liberty Source which is a managed business services firm with a social mission to provide sustainable careers to military spouses and veterans. Because my passion for this community runs deep, everything I do revolves around the betterment of our community.

Describe how you support your community:
I believe that one should give more than they take and I am thrilled to be in a position to give back and support my community. The mobile app assists with lifestyle organization and is chocked full of additional resources for military spouses. With a dynamic digital planner to decorate and personalize, it allows spouses to control the things in life that they can, their activities and schedules. The blog provides a unique perspective along with support and motivation to thrive in the military lifestyle through each season as a spouse. With Organized Chaos, I am giving back to our community by supporting other spouses in their entrepreneurship journey. The proceeds from the app have been put straight back into our military spouse community with consistent donations to their causes. I am also writing a book that covers areas that military spouses face and revealing some of my very personal experiences that have shaped who I am today.

What do you advocate for? Why?
Military spouse mental health. I believe in empowering all spouses to chase their dreams, define success on their own terms, and not to lose themselves in this military lifestyle. In general, spouses, particularly those with children, tend to lose a bit of themselves because they are so focused on their families. It is even more common for spouses to more deeply lose themselves in a military lifestyle which is extremely difficult, stressful, and uncertain. Military spouses start to lose themselves with each challenge and season that they face. They are also left to pick up the pieces of the home front so often and for months/years at a time. As a military spouse that has had my own struggles with anxiety that is fueled by the uncertainty of this life, I know the toll it takes on a family. More support and focus should be put toward military spouse mental health.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have spread the message of military spouse mental health first by creating an outlet for organization, the Organized Chaos app. When your surroundings and schedules are chaotic, it clouds your mind and creates a sense of anxiety that your life is out of control. I assist military spouses refocus their efforts on the things they can control and constantly remind them that their mental health should be a priority. Throughout this experience, I've had numerous interviews, spread this message through the Organized Chaos blog , attended military community networking conferences, and am a contributing author for Military Families Magazine.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
I hope to bring clarity and inspiration to all military spouses through the title of AFI Military Spouse of the Year. I would like to have expanded outreach through networking opportunities that will allow the spouse demographic to have a larger voice for positive change. This rewarding lifestyle comes with many struggles that need to be highlighted so innovative programs can be created and improved. As a Mom of three children, I also hope to advocate for improved childhood education options at all duty stations.