Capt. Robert J. Taylor
Idaho Army National Guard
Idaho Army National Guard Pvt. Ashlynn Amoruso grew up wanting to be a surgeon. Over the summer, she took a big step toward accomplishing that goal by completing basic combat training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
“I asked my friends, ‘what did you do this summer?’ and they said they didn’t do much because of Covid-19,” she said. “I did a lot of things I never expected I’d do.”
Amoruso enlisted into the Idaho Army National Guard in December and is still 17. She’ll start her senior year of high school today and continue both her military and civilian education after graduating in May.
“Being in the National Guard is really cool,” Amoruso said. “I don’t think I’d want to go active duty. My dad’s in the National Guard and has done a lot of things, and I thought that was really cool.”
Like her father, 1st Sgt. Dan Amoruso, Pvt. Amoruso will serve as a 68W combat medic. She said she’s always been fascinated with being either a trauma or neurosurgeon after reading books and watching videos about doctors while growing up. She plans to earn her EMT certificate during the school year, which will reduce the length of time she’ll need to spend at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, training to become a medic.
Amoruso plans to start college at Boise State University after she graduates high school and completes Advanced Individual Training. As a member of the Idaho National Guard, she’ll be eligible for both Federal Tuition Assistance and the State Assistance Tuition Program. Each program will provide up to $4,000 a year in tuition and/or fees. Boise State currently charges $2,766.18 a semester in tuition and an additional $1,263.82 in fees. She is also eligible to use the GI Bill to help cover living expenses while in college, in addition to her monthly drill paycheck.
“I’m proud that my daughter joined the Idaho Army National Guard,” said First Sgt. Amoruso. “I think she saw the positive things the National Guard has done for our family as she grew up, and that influenced her decision to enlist.”
Basic training was Pvt. Amoruso‘s first time visiting somewhere on the East Coast. She enlisted as part of the National Guard’s Split Training Option, which allowed her to attend basic training between her junior and senior years of high school. She’ll attend Advanced Individual Training after she graduates high school.
“It taught me a lot about dealing with other people,” she said. “I met people from all over the U.S. and interacting with them was different than interacting with people here in Idaho.”
During basic training, she repelled from a 40-foot wall, spent weeks learning how to fire the M4 rifle, and learned the basics of being a Soldier, including marching, physical fitness and the Army values. Amoruso said her favorite part was learning to throw a grenade.
“It was super loud and you could feel it,” she said. “You could never pull the pin out with your teeth like they do in the movies.”