Phyllis enlisted in the Army and then transitioned to become a Warrant Officer in the Army. She eventually reached the rank of Chief Warrant Officer five. She is the current president at the Women’s in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington DC. The Women’s Memorial is the only memorial honoring the 3 million women who have served our nation since the Revolutionary War. Phyllis retired as a Chief Warrant Officer Five after 37 years of military service. She served both on active duty and the Reserves. Her career in the military was tied to intelligence, but in the civilian sector, she was a nurse. She was also a mom and married to a service member.
Phyllis Wilson an Army Unicorn
Phyllis Wilson was struggling to pay for college in between two jobs and realized that at the rate she was going she would have her Associate’s Degree by the age of twenty-four. This was not the pace she was looking for so she stopped into the recruiter’s office and looked into joining the Army. Initially, she had planned to be a military police officer, but her dad went back to the recruiter’s office with her and helped her pick a career field in intel. She also had the opportunity to become a linguist and learned that her training would be in Monterey.
Next, she went from boot camp to Monterey where life was laid back. She worked to complete her language training while also taking CLEP courses on the side to help work toward her degree. When she completed her training she went overseas to Germany to meet up with her husband. She was almost eight months pregnant. And her husband urged her to find a way to not have to come overseas. He knew with both of them on active duty and a new baby on the way it would be a challenging assignment. She was undeterred by his urging. And even though they faced many challenges with having to be out in the field regularly with two small children at home they were able to make it through it.
From active duty to Reserves to Warrant Officer in the Army
At the end of her four-year tour, they came back to the states. She then transferred to the Reserves. Her husband became a Warrant Officer. While at training and four the first four months he was in Germany she was able to gain her nursing degree. Then headed back over to Germany to reunite with her husband. They enjoyed their time overseas. When she came back to the states she was recommended to become a Warrant Officer. After considering it and getting council she decided to take the challenge. Warrant Officers make up less than 2% of the total Army. But they are an important part of the Army as Warrant Officers are experts in their field. Phyllis Wilson achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Five which is extremely rare. CW-5s are often referred to as Unicorns.
Coining the Spouses
She became the Command Chief Warrant Officer of the Reserves and had the opportunity to travel and see so many different units. She also visited soldiers who were recovering from injuries overseas. Many times she would see the spouse off to the side. As a nurse, she felt it was important to talk to the spouses. She began coining the spouses for their role in supporting their members. This experience also led to her starting Wounded Warriors Have Families Too after leaving the service.
Military Women’s Memorial
Today Phyllis is the president of the Women’s Memorial and is working to help share and preserve the stories of military women. One of the ways that she and her team is doing this is through the goal of collecting more stories of military women. You can register here. The work of the Memorial is helping to preserve history and highlight what women have done and continue to do for the military.
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