Brig Gen Carol Eggert is a combat veteran and purple heart recipient. Her philosophy as a military leader is to continue to give back to her unit and community. She never said no to an opportunity and in the end, it led to her achieving the rank of Brigadier General. In today’s episode, we cover a high-level overview of her military service. She gives so many pieces of advice for women who are considering service, those still serving and those who are veterans. Today’s interview will encourage and inspire you.
Carol initially enlisted into the Army so she could earn the GI Bill as a way to pay for college. She joined the Women’s Army Corps band. She served enlisted for 12 years and then switched to the officer corps. While she was a recruiter for her last assignment as an enlisted member, she wanted to be able to give back in another way. So she became an officer.
She began her career as an officer in the National Guard. She used that time to finish her degree. One thing she enjoyed was the flexibility of the National Guard. It gave her the chance to be a mom, college student, and soldier. She decided to pick a carer field in Maintenance because she believed she would have more opportunities. Even with its challenges, she found a way to persevere. Carol is so proud of how much the military changed over the time of her career. So many jobs were not open to women. Today all career fields are open to women.
Desert storm to 9/11
Six weeks after giving birth Desert Storm one kicked off and there was a chance her unit would deploy. She was sick of the thought of leaving her little baby behind but also felt an obligation to the military and her unit and worked to prepare for that to happen. She ended up not having to deploy for Desert Storm. But she did do various active duty stints and deployments between Desert Storm and September 11th. Her husband supporter her military career and the kids learned to rely on their father.
The role of Women
The role of the National Guard changed after September 11th. But so did the role of women as they were needed in combat but could not be there. The word attached became a workaround for women to be part of combat units. But this sometimes led to them not being seen or remembered in history for their role. Carol ended up deploying to Iraq and worked with the State Department. It was a different experience than in the past when her children were little and didn’t understand. As they grew older they knew what was happening and worried about their mom. Especially when she was injured. Her daughter took a role to hold the family together after her injury. She was also there for her mom as she adjusted back to normal life. They spent time together after she got home. And helped her work through issues.
Another interesting part of her deployment was the role she played in helping women.
Hillary Clinton had a policy that women would be able to help families get out of poverty. There were a number of programs to help women. Beekeeping, gardening, providing tools and equipment were all part of the ways the government helped those in Iraq from the State Department side.
She attributes her success to her hard work but also to the focus on giving back. She always says yes to opportunities and wants to give back. One way that women can be ready for the next opportunity is by being prepared for it before it comes so you can be ready. Get your degree. Get your masters. Take the certification. That way when the door opens you can walk through it. So often being in the right place at the right time can be attributed to being ready for the next opportunity.
Advice for Women considering military service
She encourages women to join the military. But she recommends they do their research. The Girl’s Guide to the Military YouTube channel and the Women of the Military podcast are great resources. Also, try to connect with women who have served in the military. Boot camp is challenging but you can do it. The military is forcing you to learn how to operate as a term to prepare you for war. When you know this boot camp becomes easier to get through and know it ends quicker than you might expect.
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