Captain (retired) Theron "Ash" Ashland, USAF Spec Ops
Age: Ash was born on 07/31/1968, which makes him 47 years old as of 12/04/15. He was medically discharged from the USAF 8 years ago (2007), after serving his entire adult life (18-39) 21 years.
Description: Over 6' tall, brown hair (graying), blue eyes.
Tattoo: The Air Force Special Tactics motto is tattooed on his left forearm. "First There...That Others May Live."
Scar: runs up the left side of his neck, he got it???
Getting into the background: Ash
His mother passed away giving birth to his younger sister.
While Ash was in college in Oregon, his sister Jennie (one year younger) went to Biola University in southern California. When she was at an event in down town LA, performing, she was killed accidentally in a drive shooting by El Maduro, a Latino gang from Los Angeles. They were attempting to a revival gang member present on the scene.
After his sister died, his father (a pastor) killed himself too. Leaving Ash with the house, and no family. Ash was already in his senior year getting a B.S. in Military Science, and he went into the USAF after that year (to run away from the memories and pain).
His lack of family ties made him an excellent candidate for the unsanctioned Operation White Noise, which was the military wing of the experiment.
Ash was a volunteer in White Noise while he was a USAF Captain, Special Tactics Officer.
As a result of the experiment, he lost all memories from about 3 weeks prior to the experiment to 3 weeks afterward. This included the time period in which he volunteered. Therefore, he has no memory of it. He only knows that he woke with 12 weeks of missing memory (6 of, 3 before and after), with no explanation. He also knows that he's had strange PTSD side effects. He was medically discharged with little to no explanation. He was told that he was on a mission and recovered from behind enemy lines, and that's it. Which was a lie on behalf of his leaders.
He was medically discharged 8 years ago.
He moved into his parents home (which he's owned since his father's passing), a two story cabin style home in the woods of Ashland Oregon.
The losses of his youth, later his memories, and his eventual PTSD symptoms left Ash a broken man.
Internally, he jumps at the slightest hint of danger and he sees things that aren't there. But despite that, he strives for a normal life. His medications and counseling appointments keep him fairly stable.
He sees clouds on nearly everyone, every day. On some people he sees actual creatures. Some sightings are clearer than others. Sometimes he sees a colorful cloud grow into a creature, then disappear into cloud again. Mist, smoke, vapor? Hm...
After 8 years, he is generally able to shield his reactions from physically showing to all but the most keen observer.
As part of his therapy, he writes what he sees in a notebook that he keeps in his pocket. He doesn't use cell phones or technology.
Due to his own paranoia, he does keep unregistered weapons, a stash of burner phones, cash, passports, and transportation all at three safe houses. One local, two remote. He also knows the location of empty facilities in the immediate area that he can make use of at any given moment.
As part of his ritual to keep life normal, he works in his workshop making furniture and carvings from the wood on his property (25 acres). He brings the items into town every few days to sell through a local craftsman consignment store, Woodmen Furnishings.
He also stops by the Grounded Cafe' every Monday and Wednesday morning to sit and observe the locals. He has a Veterans support group every Wednesday evening. On Sundays he heads into town for Church on Sunday morning, and to the local Pub on Sunday afternoons (during football season).
This particular Wednesday morning, he's just got his coffee when he's interrupted by crazy Eddie outside. He knows him, he usually acts up every few months, but never this bad. Then he sees creatures on Eddie, talking to him. He's attacked, spilling his coffee onto the ground. That's never happened before. He tries not to hurt him, and the police come and take Eddie away.
Later, on his way to the support group, he meets a woman stranded on the side of the road. She gets into his car for a ride into town. While driving to town, they are rammed off the road off a cliff, but survive. He sees a light creature (not an angel, make is something else, animal, rabbit? wolf? something), just before going off the cliff.
He comes to, injured, the girl is fine, but trapped. There is a man at the top of the cliff holding a gun. Instinct tells him that this is no accident, and he runs with the girl into the forest. They are tracked by the hit man. This is when she confides that she is a reporter, that Dr. Briar was interested in Ash, and she thinks they are up to something.
Ash leads evades the hit man, brings the girl to his safe house, and he gets his weapons. The safe house is shot up, and Ash kills the hit man. They then take off in his back up vehicle (or motorcycle) and head out of town.
******************** Old Bio below, trying something new above. **************************
Chester was born on 01/01/1986, which makes him 29 years old as of 12/04/15.
Ash is 47 in the year 2015. His Date of Birth: 07/31/1968
Eta is 35 in 2015. Her date of birth, 12/06/1980.
Hello my name is Amy Truthfinder, and I’m here with Colonel Theron "Ash" Ashland, USAF Spec Ops. from the White Noise series, to find out more about him/her and get a little behind the scenes information.
In the way of introductions:
Ash is a Primary character in the book White Noise. He has chosen to side with the Good Guys.
Ash was born on 07/31/1968, which makes him 47 years old as of 12/04/15. He was medically discharged from the USAF 8 years ago (2007), after serving his entire adult life (18-39) 21 years. He draws a full pension, plus hazard disability, and a check from his post as Dean of Military Science at SOU.
As I'm sitting down with him now, I can tell you that he is 6'3", well built, brown eyes, brown hair worn in a slightly longer than military cut. There is a small scar on his neck, under his left ear.
He is wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a black flack jacket. The Air Force Special Tactics motto is embroidered across the back, which matches the tattoo on his left forearm.
"First There...That Others May Live."
Personality and Motivations:
Tell me, what is your 16P Type, what are you top five Strengths finders results, and what one-three words best describes you?
I'm an ISTP-T, with strengths in Strategic, Achiever, Responsibility, Learner, and Focus
I am exhausted by social interaction. My friends describe as pragmatic and down-to-earth. I tend to hide my feelings, even from myself. I see efficiency as more important than cooperation. I specialize at improvising and spotting opportunities. I'm flexible, relaxed, and a nonconformist. I don't want to be locked down to a single plan, I want my options open. I'm also a perfectionist and eager to improve.
One word, huh? Hmm.. Defender! It's tattooed on my arm after all.
- Strategic - one who is able to see a clear direction through the complexity of a situation
- Achiever - one with a constant drive for accomplishing tasks
- Responsibility - one who, inexplicably, must follow through on commitments
- Learner - one who must constantly be challenged and learning new things to feel successful
- Focus - one who requires a clear sense of direction to be successful
What do you do with your time when you are not working?
I'm not sure what you mean? I'm on salary as the Dean of Military Science. You think there is ever a time when I'm not working? But I understand your question. There are occasions when I break away, and when I do... I read constantly. I practice playing chess against the computer. I spend time working out my body and mind. I
What are the things you enjoy most in life?
A good history book, a java chip frapachino, and leather chair by the fireplace.
What things just bug you to no end?
I would have to say people... who fail to follow through on their promises.
If every job, task, and activity in the world paid the same (and it was more than enough to have everything you wanted) what would you do?
Wow... that is a great question. At some level I would have to say what I'm doing now. I already receive a full pension so I do not need to work. And training the younger generation, not just students but leaders and teachers, is a special kind of reward.
If you could sit down and chat with a person who is alive today, who would it be? What about anyone not alive today? What about a non-real person? What about someone from your story world?
A person alive today? Hm... I've met most of the military minds of our time during the service. A few presidents even. I suppose I would have to say that I suppose it would be nice to have lunch with Chuck Norris. I'd like to thank him for entertaining years on television, and his frequent work with the N.R.A.
A non-real person? You mean like, a comic book or movie hero? I would say... You know what? Since we're imagining, I'd like to joint Captain America on a mission.
A person not alive today... Abraham Lincoln. He had the fortitude to stand where few would stand. He never got to see his dream come to pass, even know it's not fully realized. But he would be proud of the progress we've made as a nation toward unity.
Training and background
Tell me about your schooling. What high school did you go to? Where did you go to college? What activities did you participate in? Sororities / Fraternities? Were you in any other groups? Did you work through school, loans, scholarships, rich family?
Tell me about your major. How many degrees do you have? In what? Why that and not something else?
I was an Ashland High School - Grizzly, as my father, and his father before him. I joined the ROTC on a full ride scholarship at SOU, only a few blocks from my high school. Graduated with honors at 17.5 and went straight into boot camp on my 18th birthday. I was far too engrossed in the ROTC to be a part of any other activities. And I served in the United States Air Force until my force medical retirement in 2007.
I was recruited into the Air Force Special Operations Forces (SOF) under Combat Control, where I eventually achieved the rank of Colonel. I worked there for most of my career, until I was recruited for the U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (USAF ISR). Of course, that was before the ISR was reclassified as the 25th.
Toward the end of my career I worked closely with the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), I always thought it was funny that they did not separate the words Counter and Terrorism. I worked on special assignments on joint task forces with the Marines, NSA, CIA, and others.
It was a wild ride man. But the truth is... nothing could have prepared me for what came after retirement. Or for that matter, what caused the retirement in the first place... as you read about in White Noise, I'm sure.
Tell me about your major. How many degrees do you have? In what? Why that and not something else?
I majored in Political Science, with a minor in Military Science. I only ever wanted to be a soldier, from as early as I can remember. Until recently, I was enjoying training them.
Unit recently? How so?
Well, that's what this book is all about. Let's just say my life was disrupted when men broke into my home to kill me. And I've been on a wild ride ever since.
What was your first job? How many jobs have you had? What was your favorite job? Least favorite job? What do you do now?
My first job was sweeping and cleaning up at the local family owned hardware store, Smith's Hardware.
Jim Smith was a great guy, taught me a lot about discipline, and being creative with tools. I used to really enjoy people coming in and asking him: "Jim. I want to do this or that..." and man you could see the wheels in his head turn. You know, I once saw him turn a handful of scrape wood into a working Spinning Wheels for a local Lama Farmer?
Since my father died when I was young, Jim became a surrogate father to me. He was the best man I ever knew. He took me in when my mom and sister both died. He helped me get through my last two years of high school. He put me to work more as a way to channel my energy, than because he needed a worker.
The only life I've ever know after that was the USAF, and now I'm back in my home town at my home college. Excuse me... University now, we upgraded.
Do you hold any licenses, specialties, etc.?
I hold licenses for Concealed Carry and the American Sniper Association (ASA). I also cleared for Top Secret (TS SCI) while I was working under the USAF-ISR. I had other special classifications who's titles themselves are classified, not currently available to the public.
If you could switch jobs today what would you do? (Real and Imagined)
OK... let's transition back for a moment, and take a look at your life before all of this.
If you'd asked me a while back, before this whole new adventure started. I would have said that I was happy as Dean of Military Science at SOU. Now? I think I'll follow this trail and see where it leads. I don't know... maybe I'll stay at SOU, and pursue this on the side? We'll see.
OK... let's transition back for a moment, and take a look at your life before all of this.
What are your parents name? Do you know your grandparents? Do you have an siblings? Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Other important relatives? Are you related to anyone famous?
Unfortunately, that's a sad story. I have none living.
My Father was Captain Theodore Ashland. He died in 1974, when I was just 6 years old. He died in the Vietnam War, like so many other good men. I remember him of course, but not much. He was gone so often with the war. It's almost like the memory of a memory. Most of what I know about him is from pictures, journals, and stories from extended family. Most of those family are gone now too though.
I had one sister, her name was Mary. She died when she was 12, I was 15 at the time. It was a car accident. August 1985. The roads weren't paved well then. The car was being driven by a 13 year old coming in from the farm. That wasn't uncommon in farm communities back then. There's no telling if an adult would have handled it differently anyway, roads were bad then too.
They would would just tar the road, throw gravel down, and let the cars run the gravel into the tar. It created for less traction than we have today.
The tires slipped on the gravel, and he slid right into her. Wrapped the car around the street lamp. Pinned her, on her bike...
Pinned her on her bike between the car's side and the street lamp. The kid driver was thrown through the windshield. The passenger, 15, went to the ER, but he lived. It was such a tragedy. For both families. I still get a card from Eddie, the survivor, every year. In August.
My mom's name was Gwen Ashland (McGee was her maiden name). She died in 1985 from cancer, I was just 16 at the time. After that, with no living relatives left, I moved in with Jim Smith.
I'm sorry to hear that. You're life... it was a very hard life growing up. I know this is a sensitive topic for you. Let me give you a moment. How about we switch to a lighter topic.
What does your name mean, and why did you parents choose it?
Theron is originally a Greek name. It means hunter. In English it's means Untamed. It's played well into my life hunting down terrorist cells around the world, and... removing them from the field.
Ashland is my family name. As far as we know my family came to the USA in the early 1800's and settled around TN. My great grandparents wanted to move out to the west, and they'd heard how green and beautiful the state of Oregon was.
They caught wind that a town had been established by the name of Ashland, and they thought it was a "Sign" from God. So they moved. We had been settled in the town every since. That is... until now. I guess I'm the last Ashland from my line still in Ashland OR.
Is there anything interesting or important or unusual we need to know about your family?
Besides my parents death's when I was young? Not that I know of at this time.
What was your relationship like with your Mother? Father? Others?
I barely knew my father, but I loved him when I was young. My mom worked two jobs to keep my sister and I taken care of. It's probably the stress that eventually did her in. But she was warm, and funny. She loved to laugh. She rarely had a harsh word to say. I loved her very much.
My sister and I were inseparable until she died. That's probably why I latched onto Eta as my partner at the ISR, she reminded my of my sister. Fiesty, full of spirit. She would get her way, or you'd hear it.
Early Childhood through middle school
What experiences, growing up, marked your memory? In other words, what can you remember about your childhood, what stands out?
I don't remember much. I was in boy scouts, school sports, the usual stuff through middle school. Growing up without a dad was hard, but I managed. Most of the good times were erased with the passing of my mother and sister within a year of each other. So... I just try not to think about the past.
Who were your best friends?
I would not say that I ever had best friends. I had friends, plenty. People that came to the house, played games, etc. I managed to find myself in various groups growing up. But friends? That just feels too strong a word for them... they were... acquaintances.
Worst enemies, bullies?
No bullies in my life. There were a few who tried to bully my kid sister now and then, but when they learned I was there, they left her alone. I always saw myself as the protector of the other kids from bullies. I was naturally fast and strong. I rarely had an ounce of fat on me, even as a baby. That made it hard to get bullied.
What was your best day? Worst?
Goes without mentioning. My worst days were the loss of my family.
My best day... I'll have to let you know when I have it.
1. Innocuous, blend in to the crowd, disappear, but look a little cool while doing it.
2. His ways are set, until he is forced into hiding, when he must make changes to his look.
1. Marksman, best shooter with hand gun or rifle in the USAF, several years in a row, before taking missions that would not allow him to compete. Now that he's retired, he still shoots on the ranges.
1. Avid Reader
2. Despite his hard exterior, he much prefers to think through an issue, than bulldoze into it. He's reading allows him to stretch his mind so that he can appear to be acting fast, when he's really taking in every aspect of a situation, and making an informed decision.
Alternate Version of sisters' death1. The Accident of 1984: When Ash was 16, he was driving the farm truck with a girlfriend, and his sister was in the back of the cab. He was driving too fast through the small town streets, and the gravel of the new road was loose. He hit the curve too hard, slide sideways and wrapped the truck around a power pole. The girlfriend (Holly Beady - 15), and his sister (Jeannie Ashland - 12) were killed instantly. Ash was taken to a nearby hospital unconscious, but with no life threatening injuries.
2. Formative: He felt that it was that day that broke his Mom's heart, which led to her death a year later, and made him swear that he was only good for destruction, and that but that he would use that destruction to protect and serve.
E. Conflicts1. Inner Conflicts:
1) I'm only good for destruction.
2) I want to serve, protect, and prevent.
2. Outer Conflicts
1) Victim of a Mysterious Experiment.
2) Wants to avoid people
3) Gets sucked into a situation where he's called to serve and protect.
Storyteller, Creative, INFJ, Intellection, Ideation, Input, Learner, Achiever
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