UT2 Ashley Franklin Named Navy Region Southwest's Navy Wounded Warrior of the Month for March 2023
March 10, 2023 | Story by Alyssa Ross | Navy Wounded Warrior
WASHINGTON – UT2 Ashley Franklin was named the Wounded Warrior of the month for March 2023 by Navy Region Southwest.
Franklin was a Seebee with Naval Construction Group 1 (NG-1) stationed at Pt. Hueneme at the Naval Base Ventura County in California. She hoped to take what she learned through the Navy and eventually get her contractor's license and start her own construction business.
In 2019, Franklin was leading a tactics course on range running along uneven terrain. While carrying 80 pounds of gear, she fell on a concrete barrier and hit her neck.
"I got back up and continued to teach like normal to facilitate the course, but something felt off," she said. "When we got back from the field, I noticed my migraines intensifying and noticed bruising on the side of my neck. As time went by, I noticed a tingling in my arm and began dropping things during normal tasks from weakness in my arm."
Her medical team found two bone spurs and a pinched nerve in her lower back, likely from the impact of her fall while carrying the heavy pack. She was put on limited duty and her primary care manager referred her to a Medical Evaluation Board.
"My life stopped. All of my hopes to someday put in an LDO package and retire in the Navy were crushed. My goal to start my own business came to a halt, given that my injuries weren't improving."
When she came to Navy Wounded Warrior, she was set on a path to a new normal. With her case management team, they developed an individualized care plan. She received seven outpatient procedures and they introduced her to a different professional sector, allowing her to pivot her career goals.
"Navy Wounded Warrior allowed me to formulate a care plan as opposed to just waiting for my exit from the Navy. They introduced me to several cybersecurity certifications and courses which assisted me tremendously in my transition."
Franklin is now an information security engineer for Optum healthcare. Outside of work, she freelances as a photographer and videographer and participates in cybersecurity hackathons. She is also taking courses toward a degree in Network Security and smothers her emotional-support cats with love.
UT2 Ashley Franklin was nominated by Stanford Parks, Navy Region Southwest Recovery Care Coordinator
Numquam Navigare Solus – Never to Sail Alone
Navy Wounded Warrior coordinates the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, and provides resources and support to their families and caregivers. Regional non-medical care providers tailor support to each enrolled service member’s recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration needs. The program allows service members and their families to focus on recovery without distraction. To date, nearly 10,000 seriously wounded, ill, and injured service members located throughout the country received assistance from Navy Wounded Warrior.
Sailors and Coast Guardsmen may self-refer to Navy Wounded Warrior, or be referred by a family member, their command leadership or their medical team. Contact the Navy Wounded Warrior call center at 855-NAVY WWP / 855-628-9997, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.