Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
Number of Deployments: 5
Number of PCS's: 6
Share your military spouse story:
I’ve never been the ‘stereotypical’ military spouse. I spend my days creating social media content and my nights in clubs around the country telling jokes as a stand-up comedian. I’ve arm wrestled Generals, had a Lt Col almost kill me (accidentally) in a golf cart, and hosted a party for international military spouses from Central and South America featuring a propane torch and a gallon of Jack Daniel's. I learned that If you want to make a Rear Admiral do an about-face, greet them with a shot of whisky and a flaming marshmallow. Long before I joined the party, my husband flew C-130’s without a weird lady encouraging him to get as much as he could out of the military experience. On our first date, I challenged him to a push-up contest. I won’t tell you who won but...he is in the Air Force. For me, being a military spouse means that I am very connected to my husband. Even though he is gone a lot and comes home late often, he’s my constant in a world of change. I’ve spent many nights while he was away worrying, anticipating a knock on the door from a chaplain or getting excited to see his F-250 in the driveway, only to suddenly remember that he was gone. Most people don’t know that I’m also a mom. My husband and I have a stepson and had custody of him. But, when we were preparing to PCS, the Family Court said ‘Ashley doesn’t work. She can take care of him.” At that moment, I realized that my life, like many military spouses, would be put on hold. I wanted to do comedy and join the military. All of that got postponed. But now, I use humor to share the military story and that same kid is at the Naval Academy living out his dreams. I love being a military spouse and traveling around the country advocating for our community. I firmly believe we must support service members and their families. My goal is to make sure everyone understands why we need to support both and that we all are better together.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I have built large audience through social media and national speaking engagements. Because I am so grateful to be part of a community of MilSpouses who do so much, I use my platforms to spotlight these great people and their work. Projects ranging from unemployment, EFMP, housing, and food insecurity are often showcased with my videos receiving over 250 million views. I want the world to know the issues that are affecting military families and how we can work together to solve them. Donating my time, I have performed for the VA and mentored comedy classes for the military community. I started a program at our base to ensure access to groceries and work toward ending food insecurity. Running daily for the last 8 years, I also collect litter on base while I exercise. While it may seem simple, I've grabbed over 1,000 lbs of trash. I’ve been a key spouse mentor and spouses club board member but above all, I love leading by sharing the wins of those around me who are making a difference.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
Cut me and I bleed Bang energy drinks. I feel like my connection to the military is represented in all parts of my life. I am the first American Legion Auxiliary member to co-host an American Legion Podcast (Tango Alpha Lima). I travel around the country to give keynote speeches to community leaders with an emphasis on military family issues. I had the privilege of spending time with Marine recruiters and their families when they invited me to be their guest of honor at the Marine ball. I regularly meet with organizations that want to hire military spouses to advise them on how they can best support the military community. I interviewed Senator Kaine on the ‘Military Spouse Working Tax Credit’ and also interviewed Montel Williams on the ways that he is supporting the military community. In 2023, I am scheduled to continue this advocacy work with political leaders and non-profits.
Describe how you support your community:
I feel responsible for making sure that military families feel supported. I use humor to create videos about military life and I get daily messages from people telling me how my comedy has allowed them to make hard conversations with their families easier. It helps them to feel understood and less alone. First, I believe there is power in stepping out of one’s circumstances and finding the humor in it. And, laughing makes things lighter. Humor allows us to breathe for a moment, to find a quick interlude of joy. I use jokes and wit to invite our community into conversation and help them find the resources they need to thrive.
What do you advocate for? Why?
Essentially, I am an advocate for military recruitment and retention. Every issue that affects a military family influences whether or not a servicemember will choose to stay. And, these issues are no small matter. Military spouses are frustrated, and honestly heartbroken, about their lack of access to gainful opportunity or the ability to pursue their dreams. Families in our space are struggling to put food on the table, create a steady quality of life, and maintain normal rhythms of work and rest. I advocate for this community because I want to honor the sacrifice so many military spouses have given alongside their service members-giving up goals, hopes, and dreams to support their spouses and families at home.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
With the masses paying attention to the latest trends and viral reels online, I take up space to elevate the military experience with a few jokes, a couple laughs, and some strategically timed one-liners. Because of this, I have been interviewed by Newsweek, The American Legion, We Are The Mighty, Stars and Stripes, The Military Times, The Air Force Times and Military.com, among several others. My goal is always to take the issues that are affecting military families and put them in front of those who may not know of the struggles affecting us. By doing so, there is an opportunity to change hearts and minds - to equip people who want to make a difference with the information to make tangible change.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
The AFI Military Spouse of the Year Program is such a widely respected platform and creates a unique community of volunteers, influencers, advocates, and professionals. In this space, I could connect with other military community members who are committed to improving the lives of the people around them and this title would be another avenue to work toward and collaborate for supporting military families. I hope to continue raising awareness about military community challenges, using my voice and platforms to highlight those who are standing in the gap, and inspire others to join the movement.
Though initially introduced to Ashley by finding her on Instagram — I’ve quickly gone from simply laughing at her extraordinary comedic skills to being inspired. Ashley has used her platform to advocate for our military community in big ways! From highlighting food insecurity to working towards policy changes to target military spouse employment, she’s all in. I would be proud to see Ashley represent us all as an msoy!
- by Jessica Manfre
Ashley may be best known as our favorite military spouse comedian; however, she has turned her platform into a voice for the community. Over the past year, Ashley first worked with Senator Kaine about the issues preventing military spouses from seeking and holding gainful employment and worked with expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include military spouses. Furthermore, Ashley saw a need in her local community of military families experiencing food insecurity. Through the ability to allow families to remain anonymous, Ashley has bought groceries and helped supply meals to local families while bringing notice to DoD officials on the issues around food insecurity and ease of access at the commissary to purchase affordable healthy food. Ashley truly is an advocate who cares about her military community, doesn't shy away from asking tough questions, and is always eager to help shine a light on issues our military community faces.
- by Megan Harless
From the moment I met Ashley, I have always been impressed with her. I met Ashley by through a chance encounter at a military event, and we bonded over our desire to find solutions for military spouse under and unemployment. The more I learn about Ashley, the more I am convinced that she is a superhero. She is already changing the world in big ways through her humor, honesty, and boldness. Ashley says what needs to be said about military life, shining a spotlight on not-so-shiny issues, and advocates on behalf of military families. Ashley walks the walk too. Did you know that for over 6 years, she has held run every day, picking up litter along her route? Ashley also makes the time to support food insecure military families within her local community too. S.U.P.E.R. H.E.R.O.
- by Lauren Hope
Ashley has a popular social media presence which she uses to broadcast a light hearted view of life as a military spouse.
Military life is challenging. Being Able to laugh when times are tough is a huge help, especially when there is really nothing that can change the deployment, make the PCS smoother, or build friendships faster. A comedian that can truly understand military family struggles is comforting .
But Ashley does more than deliver a well timed joke when you need to either laugh or cry. She took it upon herself to organize an installation-wide one woman food drive. Military families experiencing food scarcity could anonymously request groceries which Ashley purchased herself.
Her ability to connect with military families is a breath of fresh air for families who are often forgotten or misunderstood.
(Disclaimer: I only know Ashley through social media.)
- by Candice Hodges
Ashley is a professional comedian and actively reaches out to other spouses about their concerns and issues. She uses her platform to point out things in our community that could use improvement. Her voice could be amplified as an MSOY and she could voice all of our issues in the most relatable way - humor.
- by Rebecca Emerson
I first became aware of Ashley after seeing her win the “Jerry Seinfeld Challenge”; I’ve enjoyed watching Ashley use her platform to educate the national community on Military Families and also educates military families on organizations that offer assistance. She routinely promotes businesses owned by a Military Spouse. Ashley’s communication skills have made her a wonderful spokesperson for media. She has been supporting legislation, speaking with podcasts to educate on the importance of the Military Spouse Hiring Act and promote its passage. Whether a comedy club or a call with a Senator, Ashley is comfortable with answering questions about issues most important to Military Families. Ashley finds time to serve on a Spouse’s Board and to attend promotion ceremonies. She even carries a bag with her on her daily run to pick up trash.
Ashley’s social media platforms have gained attention through her comedy, and through that comedy she has educated us all about Military Families.
- by Janis O Moroni
Ashley Gutermuth is positively one of the most hilarious people I've ever met. Using humor as an avenue to start genuine conversations, offer practical help, or even just a smidge of hope, Ashley is a beacon of light in our space.
She is a powerful advocate for the arts and has a unique voice that draws people together. Her work, advocacy, and encouragement in this community should be recognized and her voice should be amplified.
- by Megan B. Brown