Monday, January 14, 2008

Why They Serve: Maj. Carter's Story

Army Maj. Lisa L. Carter, a two-time Iraq veteran, wants to share her life’s success story with the American public.
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Army Maj. Lisa L. Carter. Defense Department photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Carter recalled her days as a single mother working at a post office in Atlanta while caring for her 2-year-old daughter a few years after her 1984 graduation from Fulton High School there.

“I met a lot of retired military personnel” at the post office, Carter said, noting the veterans encouraged her to join the Army Reserve as a way to improve her life.

Today, Carter is an active-duty Army officer. She also is among 12 servicemembers participating in the sixth quarterly iteration of the Defense Department’s “Why We Serve” public-outreach program. Carter will tell her story to community, business and veterans group audiences, and at other gatherings.

Carter said she enjoys her career as an Army officer and wants the public to know military people have the same dreams and aspirations as their civilian counterparts. “We are human beings just as they are,” Carter observed.

And although wartime deployments may be hard on servicemembers’ personal lives, military members remain dedicated to their pledge to defend the nation, she said.

“It is stressful to be deployed. It is stressful to be away from your family. But servicemembers know that this is their job and responsibility -- to serve,” Carter said.

Following the advice of her post office co-workers, Carter enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1987 as an administrative specialist. During her initial training at Fort Jackson, S.C., she said, she experienced a revelation that jolted her mind.

“I saw a black female officer,” Carter recalled. “I looked at her and thought: ‘If she can do it, surely I can do it.’”

Then and there, Carter set a personal goal to obtain a college degree and a commission. In 1996, she graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in social work and earned an Army lieutenant’s gold bars through the school’s ROTC program.

read the rest of her story on

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