Sharing advice from a military career

In this week’s episode Major General (ret) Peggy Wilmoth shares some advice from a military career spanning 35 and half years. Dr. Wilmoth received her Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. She also earned a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Wilmoth is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship.

Sharing advice from a military career

Her journey to the Army wasn’t a straight path. Although she had wanted to serve in the Army as nurse since she was a child she continually faced road blocks. She wasn’t admitted to the school at Walter Reid. So she went to college to gain her nursing degree and looked into ROTC, but it wasn’t open to women. She also tried to apply after graduating but Vietnam was ending and the Army didn’t need nurses. A few years later her father in-law was able to get her into the Army as a nurse. She got pregnant and had to wait until she had her child. But eventually she was able to join the Army Reserve.

Facing discrimination

She shared that while she didn’t experience sexual assault or trauma. She did face people not wanting her to be there. Her father sent her a letter asking her not join the Army. It wasn’t a place for women. In another situation, she was told by a leader that she had taken a spot from a physician. When she became a commander the physicians did not want to serve under her. They had received special benefits and didn’t want them taken away.

Self Advocacy

She also shared about how she once was asked who do you think can fill this interim role. At first she was going to give someone else’s name. Then she realized she could do the job. She said her name. She got the job. Had she given someone else’s name she would not have had the opportunities that came from that. She also took a position leaving her command role early to work outside of the medical career field. It opened the door to meeting new people and learning other ways the Army worked.


Another theme from the interview was mentorship. Looking for mentors outside of the traditional path. It also was brought up how crucial it is to find mentors who can give sound advice who are not wrapped up in the personal situation. Mentors who are involved can have emotional bias. And what can start as advice can quickly turn to gossip which is never good for a situations.


One final theme we focused on was how important it is to advocate for change. Veterans have continually advocated for each other to bring changes. The PACT Act is the most recent change in legislation of veterans. It took many veterans and organizations advocating. It also took allies like Jon Stewart who helped advocate for change. This advocacy can be seen from many generations. I highlighted watching Amsterdam and learning about how WWI veterans advocated for changes and helped lead to the benefits veterans have today.

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