When over 30 anti-war protesters gathered on Middleburys village green last weekend, you might have gotten the impression that most Vermonters are opposed to the nations war on terrorism and the post-war fight to win the democratic peace in Iraq. But small-town protests orchestrated by anti-military activists can be deceiving. Anti-war and anti-American sentiments appear to be repugnant to most local military members, their families, and silent supporters; instead they firmly believe that the current fight for Middle Eastern democracy is Americas business. And they believe Iraqs future is worth fighting for despite feelings of political rancor that have divided many Vermont communities. For USMC Cpl. Ashley Gale of Huntington, Vt., a brief Easter homecoming last weekend was a welcome respite during troubled times at home and abroad. But no regrets or outspokenness about Iraq were heard from Gale at home; the motto is Semper fi. Semper fidelis is the USMCs Latin motto meaning "always faithful." Cpl. Gale and her fellow Marines represent that and more. Gale graduated from Mount Mansfield Union High School in 2003. Setting down cap and gown, the young woman didnt have to think very long or hard about how she could serve the nation while gaining valuable technical and leadership skills. Instead of following the all too familiar path of youthful self absorption, Gale blazed her own career path by enlisting in the Marine Corps within a few months of graduation. After steeling herself for a completely new life in the military, she departed Vermont for boot camp in February 2004. Friends and family are now proud of Gales experience in peace and war. (Her nephew Silas is especially fond of his favorite role model and aunt.) While being a squad leader for her platoon, Gale graduated with honors as a private first class. She acquired high-tech skills as an aviation ordnance technician working on Harrier AV-8B jump jets; she was then assigned to the VMA-211 Squadronthe famous Wake Island Avengersin Yuma, Ariz. Gale also qualified as an expert rifleman, an envious accomplishment for any U.S. Marine, male or female. Last week, when Gale returned stateside following her seven-month hitch near Al-Asad, Iraq, she was happy to catch up on hometown news while visiting her family and friends in Huntington. She also brought home some good news. While in Iraq, she was meritoriously promoted to corporal, E-4. According to Cpl. Gales parents, Glenn and Sandy Gale of Huntington, their daughter doesnt regret serving her nation even in a time of shadowy, asymmetrical war. Although her enlistment is over in February 2008, she is already planning to return to Iraq because she see's the difference American servicemen and women are making over there, said Glenn Gale. We're very proud of our daughter and her generations dedication and service to our country. Semper fi!