Payette alum earns high military honors

Army Lt. Colonel Ashlie Christian as seen in this January 2021 photo. Christian was promoted to her new rank following service in Europe and Afghanistan, and teaching math at West Point Academy.

PAYETTE — Payette High School alum Ashlie Christian, class of 2000, was promoted to Army Lieutenant Colonel in a ceremony with a few friends and family in January.

Richard Dillon, Superintendent of the Payette School District during Christian’s K-12 school years, acted as master of ceremonies. He related stories of Christian receiving the first Parade of Champion award as a Kindergarten student, graduating as valedictorian and attending college as a softball pitcher at the United Stated Military Academy in West Point, New York. Lifelong best friend, Jill Patterson Karasek, read the Call to Orders. Retired Air Force General Ed Parsons, Jr. conducted the promotion as Christian’s parents, Debbie & Del Christian, pinned the new rank on her shoulders.

Payette Mayor Jeff Williams presented her with a proclamation making January 3, 2021 “Lt. Colonel Ashlie Christian Day.”

Ashlie Christian graduated from West Point in 2004, attended flight school and became a Blackhawk pilot in 2005. Her first duty station was Ft. Lewis, Washington. She was deployed to Iraq 2007-2008 on an extended deployment of 16 months.

Upon her return she was a company commander, then attended the Captain’s Course at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, where she went through Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape 1 & 2 training. She attended graduate school at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

After graduating with a Master’s in Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering, she returned to West Point to teach in the Math Department for three years. While there, she also assisted with the softball team, was an Officer in Charge for the men’s basketball team, was a sports photographer, and was a sponsor for several cadets.

After that, she attended the Command General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, NY. Her next assignment was at Ft. Drum, New York, where she served a nine-month NATA mission in Europe, and served as commander of the largest aviation maintenance company in the Army for a year. From there she became the Battalion Executive Officer for two years, deploying to Afghanistan for 11 months.

She achieved her master aviator wings by flying over 2,000 hours and being an aviator for 15 years. She is currently serving as the Aviation Battalion Executive Officer at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA. In June, she will again return to West Point to teach in the Math Department for the next two years.

Ashlie Christian expressed appreciation to the community of Payette, friends, family, and teachers at Payette Schools – all who have been a lifelong support and source of encouragement. She also expressed appreciation for Dillon, Parsons, Jill Karasek, and friends for participating in her promotion, and longtime friend Maggie Sullivan for taking pictures, and family friend Kristy Davis for getting the facility and helping in all aspects of the event.

Debbie and Del Christian expressed gratitude to Williams and the Payette City Council for honoring Ashlie Christian.

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