Welcome to episode 21 of Women of the Military Podcast. Today’s guest is Tammy Barlet
Tammy Barlet served in the Coast Guard for 8 years. As an Operation Specialist aboard the USCGC Chase (WHEC-718), traveling halfway around the world twice was the last thing Tammy thought would happen. However, she would soon find herself on patrols in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on her way to Alaska, Thailand or the Persian Gulf. During Tammy’s time on the Cutter Chase, she participated in numerous tactical operations such as Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT 97, Southeast Asia) and Military Interdiction Operations (MIO, Persian Gulf). The Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation from Vice Admiral Card, Distinguished Coast Guard Battle “E” Ribbon, Coast Guard Special Operations, and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal were only a few of the medals and ribbons she earned while on board the Chase.
Childhood inspiration to join the Coast Guard
Watching the Coast Guard on the shores of Delaware growing up inspired Tammy to join the military. She wanted to see more than just her small town and her mom liked the idea of the Coast Guard because she thought it would mean Tammy would be somewhere close to or inside of the United States. The military also offered Tammy an opportunity to go to college after her service commitment and as a senior in high school not knowing exactly what she wanted to do this idea appealed to her.
When she finished boot camp, she was assigned to the MWR unit where her job consisted of handing out basketballs and cleaning gum off the gym floor. At her six-month assessment with her Chief, she told him she wanted to do something else. He suggested she become a Radarman and would be gone within 2 months and on a Cutter within 3. She did that.
It was aboard the USCG Cutter Chase that she saw the world.
She did a training mission with Thailand focused on the tactical side while the Navy focused on the larger mission. And then while in the Persian Gulf her team checked and boarded ships coming out of the river. When they were found in violation the Navy would take control and they would continue to patrol.
She left the military after an accident that happened while she was volunteering. She walked away from the military and didn’t get involved in the Veteran space for 10 years. It wasn’t until her cousin committed suicide that she reached out for help at the VA and got connected with a counselor who gave her guidance and direction she needed. She went back to school to complete her degree and she is now almost about to receive her masters and is heavily involved in the Veteran community.
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