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    Washington Soldier keeps the wheels turning on deployment

    Washington Soldier keeps the wheels turning on deployment

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ian Kummer | Washington Army National Guard Spc. Ayla Scott is a fueler and military policeman at...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Ian Kummer 

    40th Combat Aviation Brigade

    FOB FENTY, Afghanistan – Many people have one driving passion or trait that defines them. But for one Soldier currently deployed to Afghanistan with the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade isn’t so easy to describe.

    Spc. Ayla Scott is a National Guard Soldier. But also a fueler. And a military policeman. And also a bicycle repair enthusiast. Perhaps the best way to describe Scott is someone who strives to expand her horizons no matter where she is in the world.

    Scott was born in Hamilton, Montana. She and her younger brother were raised by a single working mother. But she wasn’t destined to live quietly in one place. She joined the Idaho National Guard as a fueler in 2010. But her underlying ambition was to eventually make the cut as a military policeman.

    “I became a fueler to get my foot in the door,” Scott said.
    Scott’s experiences in Army basic and advanced individual training changed her.

    “I had grown up so much at AIT,” Scott said. “All my friends were the same, and I was so different.”

    Scott decided to move to Everett, Washington, to try something new. She soon started a new job as a cashier at a sports store. But performing her basic duties at her new job wasn’t enough, she had to learn more.

    “There I was as a little cashier, going back whenever I could to the bicycle shop, and the techs would teach me a thing or two.”

    It wasn’t long before her new skills sets attracted attention, landing her a new job as a marketing technician for the store, enabling her to speak as an expert to customers.

    “It was fun, there was a lot of traveling involved,” Scott said.

    Meanwhile, Scott advanced in her military career as well. She achieved her dream of transferring to a military police unit. But fate had other things in mind for her.

    Scott had just finished her less-lethal weapons certification. Eyes still watering from the OC spray, she reported to her training noncommissioned officer. Company E, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment was deploying with the 40th CAB to Kuwait, and they needed fuelers.

    “I loved being an MP, but I joined to deploy,” Scott said. “I joined in a time of war.”

    When Scott arrived in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, she quickly saw a way she could put her civilian skill sets to work.

    “On base there are people riding bikes everywhere,” Scott said. “At every opportunity I started walking around with my buddies looking for bike parts.”

    Scott put up an advertisement for her bike shop on the Camp Buehring classifieds web page. She was overwhelmed with responses so quickly she deleted the ad.

    “I rely on word of mouth now,” Scott said. “It took off so quick, it was awesome.”

    Word of Scott’s bike shop spread like wildfire. Even her coworkers found themselves peppered with questions by prospective bike riders.

    “I was working at the [Forward Arming and Refueling Point] and I had a sergeant come up and ask if I knew Scott,” said Sgt. Steven Quinata, a fueler in Company E. “People were always looking for her, tracking her down.”

    Thanks to support from her company, Scott got her own space to set up an impromptu bike shop. Instead of working for payment like a typical shop, Scott’s “customers” supported her with donated materials.

    “Anything that looked bike-worthy people would bring in,” Scott said.

    Scott’s already-booming charity business exploded even further thanks to a donated tool kit from a bike shop in Oregon. Now no longer limited in her choice of tools, Scott took on even more ambitious repairs.

    “After that, I was unstoppable,” Scott said. “I could work on any bike.”

    At the end of April, Scott accepted a temporary forward assignment from Kuwait to Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan. Less than two weeks later, Scott found herself at an expeditionary FARP with six of her fellow Soldiers fueling attack helicopters under constant threat of enemy attack. Now settled back down at FOB Fenty, Scott is making plans to set up a new bicycle shop.

    “Running a bicycle shop is one of my dream jobs,” Scott said. “I have to do it again.



    Date Taken: 06.08.2016
    Date Posted: 06.08.2016 08:14
    Story ID: 200324
    Location: FOB FENTY, AF
    Hometown: EVERETT, WA, US
    Hometown: HAMILTON, MT, US

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