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Honoring Veterans: Army Veteran Ashley Leiva

In December 2022, Army Veteran Ashley Leiva became the first female winner of the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award for rookie Veteran truck drivers. After she left the Army in 2021, Leiva and her brother, fellow Army Veteran Johnny Leiva, took over their deceased mother’s trucking company and renamed it Noemi Trucking to honor her.

Leiva’s mother started the company, initially called Leiva Trucking, near the end of 20 years as a truck driver. She provided the inspiration for Ashley to begin tank trucking and the encouragement to enter the Army straight out of high school. 

With over 15 years in the Army, Ashley has trained all over the world, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. She deployed to Iraq twice and served as a senior culinary manager over dining facilities stateside and abroad. She attained the rank sergeant first class in the 569th Quartermaster Company in Honolulu, Hawaii. She left the military early, in April 2021, when her mother died of stomach cancer six months before she had originally planned to rejoin civilian life.

It was Johnny who invited Ashley to join him in maintaining their mother’s legacy by continuing her trucking company. Ashley had earned a commercial driver’s license in the Army to haul people and culinary goods to both training and active areas. However, she made sure to learn the specifics of tank trucking, taking lessons in managing big rigs and graduating from Del Mar College’s transportation training services program in November 2021.

Trucking companies nominated thousands of Veterans for the Transition Trucking award based on performance, including criteria of successful transition into life as a civilian truck driver and focus on safety in the profession. Ashley received a certificate of commendation from the council of her hometown, Corpus Christi, Texas, for being one of the finalists. She was the only female among the 11 semifinalists from a year-long search.

Chosen by public vote and independent selection committee, Ashley won prizes including a truck that doubled the number in her company’s fleet and a full-tuition scholarship she put toward her business management degree. As a single mother to a young daughter, she appreciated her military career’s dependability and her newer tank trucking career’s serenity and freedom to spend time with her daughter.

We honor her service.

Nominate a Veteran for Honoring Veterans

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s Honoring Veterans social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to ne****** with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Writer: Michelle A. Shade

Editors: Ethan Oleson, Kinsey Spratt

Researchers: Charmonie Baugh, Kelsey Burchard

Graphic Designer: Charles F. Hundley

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