“From the time he was a young boy, it may have been like 4th grade, but certainly by 5th grade, he absolutely knew he had a calling into the military,” Ashton Flair’s mother Tobi said this week. “He had such a deep and profound respect for our country and such a love and commitment to freedom and patriotism.”
Ashton was born on May 6, 2002 – the oldest child of Alan Timothy Flair and Margaret Tobi Flair. He enlisted in the United States Army between his junior and senior year at Hahnville High School.
On Oct. 23 he died while in Advanced Individual Training.
“The courage that he had in his conviction and his commitment was so admirable,” Tobi said. “Over these last few years and through high
school he had decided his own pathway.”
That path, Tobi said, included joining the military, completing college, serving 20 years in the Army and then retiring and going into law enforcement. Ashton was accepted to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and was planning to pursue a degree in criminal justice.
Ashton’s father Tim said Ashton was greatly influenced by many military men in his family.
“He had seen memorabilia and heard stories,” Tim said. “That’s what drove him. You hear the stories about the military folks coming to the door and delivering terrible news … that was my biggest fear … I just never imagined it would happen this quick.”
Tim and Tobi last saw Ashton in person on June 8 at the airport when he boarded a plane for basic training.
“From June 8 to August 20 he was in basic training and the only communication we had were letters and only two phone calls,” Tobi said. “But would often Zoom and Facetime often when he was in AIT.”
The couple flew to Virginia this week to accompany their son’s body home. On Tuesday supporters paid respects to Ashton’s service by lining the procession route from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to Greenwood Funeral Home.
“Our goal is for everybody that knew him to now share his passion of peace and love of the country and each other,” Tim said of how he hopes Ashton is remembered. “It all goes back to service, not only to his country, but to his fellow man. He was doing so well … he now can serve the multitudes.”
Tobi said she had a strong admiration for her son’s commitment and conviction.
“We cannot take credit for any of that,” she said. “We were fortunate enough to be a part of Ashton’s life and he a part of ours, but we can’t take credit for the moral fiber and character that was deeply embedded in him. That’s from a different place … that’s from God’s hands.”
Tobi said she hopes people remember Ashton for his Godliness and deep desire to make sure that people were taken care of.
“He paid attention … he had such a keen sense of being able to read people’s emotions and tune into their needs,” she said. “He had this ability to make people feel better about themselves. That’s a Godly gift and that’s what I want people to remember.”
Ashton, a 2020 HHS graduate, was involved in numerous organizations during high school including HHS Tiger Band, National Art Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Students and AFJROTC where he served as co-commander.
As a member of the American Legion Post 131, Ashton was selected to attend Louisiana Boys State in Natchitoches where he was awarded the City’s Most Outstanding Citizen. During his high school years, he received numerous awards for demonstrating excellence in military studies, leadership and a desire to serve the community.
Ashton enlisted in the Army on June 14, 2019 – the Army’s birthday and Flag Day. Being an avid Boy Scout in Troop 231, he earned his Eagle rank in 2020 and took joy in working at Camp Salmen in the summers and the numerous scouting hikes he took over his decade in scouting.
He completed Basic Combat Training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina as part of Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 13th infantry, 4th Platoon. He proceeded to AIT at Fort Eustis, Virginia and was part of the Charlie Company 1-222 Aviation Regiment where he was studying to be a Blackhawk Mechanic (Tango 15).
Ashton is also survived by his sister Abbegail Beatrice Flair; grandparents William Herzog, Michael and Linda Pscenicka and preceded in death by Albert Dell Flair, Sr., Betty Blancand Flair, and uncle Albert Dell Flair Jr. Other surviving family members include Brian and Carly Herzog and their daughter Eleanor; Stacy and Thomas Hopkins and their children Braden and Brock; Michael Pscenicka III and his children Emma and Michael IV; Beatrice Flair; Gustave and Lisa Flair and their children Nicholas and Bri Flair and Alexander Flair.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Ashton Dell Flair Memorial Scholarship (an account has been set up at Hancock Whitney Bank and on GoFundMe) or the American Legion Post 131, P.O. Box 646, Luling, LA 70070.