Marlington Military Night

In front of a packed house in the Marlington HS gym, the Marlington and West Branch Local School Districts honored two Gold Star families during a Military Night celebration.  The evening began with a catered dinner by Texas Roadhouse for the school administrators and Gold Star family members and friends of Lance Cpl. Dan McVicker and 1st Lt. Ashley White.  During dinner, the families shared some personal insights on each fallen hero.  Mollie McVicker, the sister of West Branch graduate Marine Dan McVicker shared, “Danny was in everything.   He was the Assistant Warrior Chief, played sports, and sang in the Young and Alive. He had many friends.” Brittany Knappenberger, the twin sister of Marlington graduate Ashley White stated,  “My sister was the quiet and reserved one. She would do anything for anyone.”

Prior to the varsity boy’s game, Superintendent Joe Knoll introduced each Gold Star family starting with Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel M. McVicker representing West Branch.  Dan was a 2003 graduate of West Branch High School and completed his boot camp training at Parris Island in South Carolina. He went overseas in August of 2005 and was stationed in Iraq. As part of the Combat Logistics Battalion 2, Security Company, 4th Squad, he conducted combat security operations. He was there seven weeks before being killed by an IED.   Superintendent Knoll stated, “ I remember the day his sister Mollie was called to my office and was informed that her brother had passed away.  I also remember the day his dad gave me a hat in honor of Danny which has been proudly displayed in my office ever since.”

Throughout his time as a Marine, Lance Cpl. Dan McVicker received numerous awards, including a Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, a Rifle Marksman Badge and finally a Purple Heart.

Next, Mr. Knoll introduced the family of Army 1st Lt. Ashley White representing Marlington.   Ashley was a 2005 graduate of Marlington High School. Following her graduation from Kent State University in 2009, she was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a Medical Service Corp Officer. She completed the Medical Services Officer Basic Course at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas and the US Army Basic Airbourne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Ashley was assigned to the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team and the North Carolina National Guard. She also served as a member of the Cultural Support Team, and it was in this role during her first deployment to Afghanistan that Ashley died during combat operations.

“ One of the first families I met when coming to Marlington was the White’s.  Cathy Krupko was kind enough to introduce us and I was able to get a true understanding of Ashley’s life and commitment to her country,” Knoll shared.   “The White family came to our first Veterans Day assembly here at Marlington and returned this past Veterans Day as we accepted a donated plaque from the Class of 1966 that displays classmates that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.   Her family and friends presented the flag that hangs in our gym as a reminder of Ashley’s life. In the hallway we have a memorial for Ashley that includes her picture, a Board resolution and the New York Times best seller book about her life titled Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield.”  

In addition to other awards, 1st Lt. Ashley White was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Bronze Star and finally the Purple Heart.

Following the introductions, Superintendent Knoll asked that each attendee hold high a flag given to them donated by the Alliance Rotary.  He recited a proclamation from former President Obama. “Most Americans can’t fully comprehend the price Gold Star family members have paid. Their sleepless nights allow for our peaceful rest, and the folded flags they hold dear are what enable the ones you are holding tonight to wave.  The depth of their sorrow is immeasurable and we are forever indebted for all they have given us.”

As choir members from West Branch and Marlington walked to mid court, Superintendent Knoll asked that all military personnel in attendance wave their flag proudly so they could be recognized.  Then, the Rolling Thunder Ohio Chapter 2 Color Guard presented the colors prior to the National Anthem being sung by the combined West Branch and Marlington choirs.      

“This was a terrific evening greatly supported by both the West Branch and Marlington communities,” Knoll commented.  “Our Gold Star families were very appreciative of this event. It was the least we could do to support them and honor their sacrifice.”


Freed-OM Yoga Event in Alexandria, VA October 1, 2017

Fellow Cultural Support Team members and Ashley’s mother, Debbie, will be participating in Freed-Om Yoga DC taking place from 11:30 AM to 7:00 PM in Alexandria, VA on October 1, 2017 at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

Freed-OM provides direct support to the U.S. Special Operations community.

Freed-OM is a community YOGA event designed to bring civilian and military communities closer through the healing powers of yoga and through honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.

This day long event will not only feature yoga sessions lead by Casey Bakus, Justin Blazjewski, and ​Dan Nevins but also feature several local nutrition and wellness vendors, food and beverage vendors including (but not limited to) Sweet Dream, Sugar Shack, and Heritage Brewing, as well as a concert by none other than Northern Virginia’s own Ted Garber!!

Do you have kiddos? No Problem! Free Childcare available from 12:30 – 3:30!! (Ages 3 – 10 only please)

Proceeds from FreedOM will fund Yoga Teacher’s Training for members of the Special Operations Forces and their adult family members at Vetoga and provide support to other Duskin and Stephens Foundation Programs.

You can see event details and fine links to tickets at the event Facebook page.


Tributes to Women Who Fought

Ashley is included along with five other women who fought and were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq in a tribute on Task & Purpose written by Michael Lane Smith.Take some time to read about Ashley, Marine 1st Lt. Rebecca Turpin, Army Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, Army Pfc. Monica Lin Brown, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill and fellow CST member Capt. Jennifer M. Moreno here.

Ashley Honored by Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On March 7, 2017 the Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers honored Ashley on their facebook page. This was done as part of an ongoing series of honor women during women’s history month. Read about Ashley and other amazing women on their page:

Alliance Review Article on Ashley’s inclusion in National Museum of the United States Army

The Alliance Review wrote an article discussing the building of the National Museum of the United States Army and the inclusion of Ashley in the museum. The text of the article is below and here is a link.

Local fallen soldier to be immortalized in museum

The National Museum of the United States Army will feature an Alliance soldier when it opens at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The military career of Ashley White Stumpf, a 2005 Marlington High School graduate who was killed during combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 22, 2011, will be told in the Soldiers Stories Gallery at the facility, which is set to break ground this year.

White Stumpf, who was assigned to the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the North Carolina National Guard, was serving as part of a joint special operations task force, connecting with women and children in Afghanistan and obtaining critical information otherwise unavailable to her male counterparts. Her story was told by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon in the book “Ashley’s War,” which was published in 2015.

With nearly 30 million Americans having served in the U.S. Army since 1775, being selected is a distinct honor reserved for soldiers who exemplified the Army’s core values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

The Soldiers Stories Gallery will be comprised of 41 free-standing stainless steel pylons arranged in marching formation, beginning outside the main entrance of the future museum and continuing inside. Each pylon will display the personal accounts of soldiers chosen from all periods of history and walks of life who served in the United States Army. Each of the gallery’s pylons will include a larger-than-life etching of a soldier’s face and will introduce a soldier from a different period in Army history.

White Stumpf, the daughter of Robert and Deborah White, was one of three women chosen to be featured in the exhibit. Also chosen were Capt. Kimberly Hampton, of Greenville, South Carolina, who was the first female military pilot in the history of the United States to die in combat when her OH-58 Kiowa helicopter was shot down by enemy ground fire in Fallujah, Iraq, on Jan. 2, 2004, and Sgt. 1st Class Jeanne Balcombe, of McMinnville, Oregon, who was shot and killed at Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, as she attempted to subdue an armed and drunken gunman threatening other soldiers on Aug. 21, 1999, and was posthumously awarded the soldier’s medal for heroism in the face of danger.

Among the other stories to be featured in the gallery are those of an aide to Gen. George Washington, a chaplain prisoner of war, a Red Ball Express driver, a soldier-poet, a War of 1812 drummer, a Vietnam War “tunnel rat,” and a Cold War veteran.

The museum, which will be operated by the Army Historical Foundation, will be the first to tell the complete history of the nation’s oldest and largest military service. An estimated 750,000 visitors are expected to visit the museum each year. The state-of-the-art facility will serve as a national landmark to honor America’s soldiers and educate all Americans about the Army’s contributions to the nation and world, in times of war and peace.

Cleveland News Station Coverage of Ashley’s War

Cleveland Ohio’s ABC 5 interviewed Ashley’s Mom, Deborah, and author of Ashley’s War, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon,  about Ashley and the role of women in U.S. combat forces. Deborah’s interview is powerful and inspiring. Please give it a watch if you have some time.

Ashley in National Musuem of U.S. Army

Ashley will be featured in the Soldiers’ Stories Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Army. Construction on the museum is set to begin later this year in Fort Belvoir, VA. Ashley is one of 41 soldiers who will be featured in the Soldiers’ Stories Gallery. The gallery will feature etchings of soldiers through time in U.S. history.

You can read more about the Ashley’s inclusion in the museum from:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Canton Repository

Fayetteville Observer

And there is more information about the museum available at


Ashley’s Mother, Deborah White, Speaks at Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery

Deborah White spoke at a Veterans Day event at the Arlington Cemetery’s Women’s Memorial on November 11, 2015. You can watch the video here.

FREED-OM Yoga Festival 2015


In addition to bringing awareness to the positive effects of yoga for our military at the Freed(om) Festival, the Duskin and Stephens Foundation, Save A Warrior, Operating Enduring Warrior, Special Forces Parachute Team and Team Red, White & Blue to honor the lives of Soldiers Ashley White-Stumpf and Jennifer Moreno who were both killed during combat operations in Afghanistan. You can watch a video of the 2015 event on youtube.

To learn more please visit:

Duskin and Stephens Foundation
To support the families of fallen members of Special Operations Forces and the educational needs of children of active duty Special Operations Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines through community outreach events, scholarships, interactive educational/recreational programs, and related activities.

To learn more please visit


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon on Washington Journal

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon was interviewed extensively on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on August 23, 2015 about women serving in U.S. combat operations. You can view this great interview from the author of Ashely’s War here.