Carolyn discovered writing for healing after leaving the military. It started when she and her husband each wrote their military story to share at their retirement. When she transitioned out of the military after 26 years of military service she found the transition hard and began writing every day. Through the writing, she wrote the book True Feathers. A fictional story of Coo the dove who was raised by Hawks and goes on her own journey of self-discovery.
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Carolyn couldn’t decide on a major and after four years of school still didn’t have a degree. She ended up moving to San Deigo and was drawn to the ROTC program. Her father had served in the Air Force. And although she never expected to serve in the military she did. She did a two-year ROTC program that included her summer training followed by two years of college/ROTC. She met her husband while at the ROTC program but they were just friends they didn’t get married for five years. When she began her career, she worked in behavior science. Working to help discover what made candidates for pilot training complete the training.
When she got married the only way they could be stationed together was for her to cross-train. She became a Personalist and they were united in Japan. They moved back to the states and it was then she went on her first deployment to Turkey. Shortly after coming home from that deployment, she became pregnant. Everything was going well and then September 11th happened. Her husband found out he would be deploying and she was going to be a new mom all alone. Luckily, her husband was able to stay until the birth of their daughter and then he headed overseas.
It was hard to be a mom and serve in the military, but it was what she wanted to do. With the deployment ops tempo and both her and her husband serving they found they needed an au pair (live-in care) to help take care of her daughter. She said the women who lived with them became like family or daughters. They are still connected to this day.
She had the opportunity to be a commander and found there was a double standard for spouses to be involved. It was expected for them to support the squadron but did not really consider that some military spouses had careers. Luckily, she had great military spouses who helped out and her husband also had excellent military spouses when he commanded. There is a lot of change happening within the military and the role of military spouses is one of the aspects where things are changing.
Carolyn and her husband retired together and had a beautiful ceremony where they each shared about each other’s careers. She decided to stay at home when she left the military so she could be there for her daughter and really struggled with the transition. She mentioned Mourning the Loss of the Military service where I talk about the grief of leaving the military. Then, she talked about how she found healing in writing and how that led to her book True Feathers.
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