Rock the Boat – Rear Admiral Danelle Barrett

Retired Rear Admiral Danelle Barrett took her 30 years of military experience and put them into her book Rock the Boat. In her book, she talks about the lessons she has learned from her military career while also including real stories from her time in the military. I enjoyed getting a chance to have her as a guest on the Women of the Military podcast where we talked about her journey to the Navy. How she balanced her responsibilities in the military and as a mom. Along with some of the highlights of her career. And of course pieces of advice to help you in your career or decision to serve. 

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Serving as a Rear Admiral in the Navy

Danelle consider a lot of options of service and eventually decided to join the Navy. To gain an ROTC scholarship she needed to take Calculus and Physics. She did not think she would survive those classes so instead paid for college on her own while participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. She commissioned and served in the role of Communications. Her career began in 1989.  She met her husband was married in 1991 and became a mom in 1996.

Work-life balance

Throughout her career, she worked to prioritize both her family and her military career. She is most proud of being a mom to her daughter among all her many accomplishments. And she talked about how important it was for her to do what she promised her daughter she would do. And she also thought a lot about her family with each PCS their family faced. With her husband not serving in the military it meant thinking of where his career could go. And even taking an assignment overseas so that her husband could attend gain his Ph.D. in his native language. Since he was from South America.

It also meant picking places where her daughter could continue in her goal of being a professional ballerina. A goal she achieved. The military still required a lot of sacrifices. But keeping her family informed and making sure she prioritized her family when she could help lead to both a successful military career and one at home. 

Deployment to Iraq

She talked about her deployment to Iraq. She was in the safety of the base and did not have to go on convoys. There was still a dangerous element to it. But not to the same level as those who had to leave the base for various mission sets. She was there helping with the elections in Iraq. And felt a lot of purpose around the mission.

Getting selected to Rear Admiral

It was an unexpected honor to be selected for Rear Admiral. Danelle believed that being selected meant she needed to use her voice to focus on certain projects. Then do all she could to move them forward before it was time to transition out of the military and on with her life. She feels she was able to do that. And some of the issues she was directly working on are still being changed today. She talked about how it was nice to see progress still being made after she left. The projects were not only important to her but others. 

She encourages women to serve in the military. She gained so much from her experience and things have continued to change for the better for women and she hopes those changes continue. 

Connect with Danelle:

Mentioned in this episode:

Rock the Boat

Related episodes:

An unexpected end to a career in the Navy – Episode 83

When Public Affairs Changed – Episode 70

Seeing the World with the Navy – Episode 9


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