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Nevada County people: NU grad takes flight into adulthood

“Airman” is not the first descriptor that comes to mind when people meet blonde, pretty Nevada Union graduate Ashley B. Onescu, 19, but that’s exactly what she is.

“She looks like a little barbie doll,” Onescu’s mother Paula Grogan-Onescu of Grass Valley said Wednesday, her voice shaking with emotion. “I never knew she would go from wanting to be a top-notch model to an airman.”

While the news was a shock, Grogan-Onescu said she couldn’t be prouder of her determined daughter. She’s also extremely grateful to her daughter’s former employer, Curves of Grass Valley, and Nevada County Friends of the Military for the support they’ve given her family.



Onescu graduated Feb. 1 from BMT Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where she trained in security forces. She’ll be stationed as a military policewoman at an air force base in the United Kingdom in May.

At Onescu’s graduation, it became obvious to her mother that the strenuous military training had changed Onescu physically and mentally.




“It made her into a very grown-up young woman,” Grogan-Onescu said. “She can face life, and she doesn’t need to be told how to do anything. She knows what her boundaries are. She knows she can’t go out partying now because she’s the property of the government.”

At dinner after the graduation ceremony, Onescu scarfed down her food. She had gotten used to having about three minutes to eat her meals, her mother said.

“They had them on a really tight time schedule,” she said. “They hardly had time to sleep.”

Grogan-Onescu is anxiously awaiting a visit from her daughter later this month and also plans to visit her in the UK this summer.

Grogan-Onescu recently found a little illustrated book Onescu wrote about herself in first grade. Inside was an image of the little girl pasted onto a butterfly with the sentence: “I’m going to fly around the world, then come back and see my mom.”

“I think she’s been wanting to do this her entire life,” Grogan-Onescu whispered.

To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail rmoormeister@theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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