Soldier with Auburn family ties killed in Afghanistan

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A month ago, Sgt. Vincent Ashlock was one of the soldiers honored by North Auburn’s Rock Creek Elementary School for service to our country. With the memory of a standing ovation from his 6-year-old daughter’s school assembly for Veterans Day still fresh in his mind, he was on his way two days later to Afghanistan to serve with the 890th Engineer Battalion, 168th Engineer Brigade. The U.S. Department of Defense announced today that Ashlock, 45, was killed Saturday in the Khost province. No details of his death were released, other than a defense department statement that it took place in a “non-combat related incident.” Ashlock’s hometown was listed as Seaside but Rock Creek school officials said his daughter had been attending first-grade classes in Auburn since the start of the school year. Principal Suzanne Flint said today that Ashlock visited the school for the Nov. 10 ceremony to commemorate Veterans Day and received a standing ovation when he was announced. “He was a really nice dad and also visited his daughter’s first-grade classroom,” Flint said. “He was an active dad and certainly a presence.” The family had lived in Auburn since at least the beginning of the school year. Ashlock’s roots were in Seaside, a community near both Monterey and Fort Ord. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors adjourned its meeting this week in memory of Ashlock, who was the son of Supervisor Dave Potter’s aide Margot Stengle. Flint said the Rock Creek school has sent a letter home with its 305 students to let parents know about the death of a soldier the students would remember from the assembly. There’s also the possibility of a memorial assembly after the winter break, if the family wishes, she said. Ashlock’s niece, Janette, said the family was asking for privacy at this time but did say that the soldier had developed an attachment with the school. “Rock Creek was so supportive and caring and he formed an attachment,” Janette said. While Auburn family couldn’t be reached for comment, his wife, Angela told the Monterey County’s The Californian newspaper that Ashlock also served in the Gulf War and was a longtime soldier with the National Guard. Ashlock told The Californian that her husband wad deployed for a year in Iraq before being stationed in Afghanistan starting in July. He had been back in the U.S. for two weeks for training around the time he visited the assembly at Rock Creek School, she said.