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2007 Honorary Degree

Carol Pottenger
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Rear Admiral Carol Pottenger has distinguished herself in the United States Navy as the first woman to lead a combat strike group.

She is the commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Seven, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, and is the U.S. Seventh Fleet's primary Navy adviser on amphibious matters in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. 

Born in Chicago and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., Ms. Pottenger came to Purdue in the mid-1970s. She earned a bachelor's degree in history in May of 1977 and was commissioned as an ensign through Purdue's Navy ROTC program, beginning her career as a communications watch officer. 

She became one of the first women selected for sea duty when she reported aboard USS Yosemite as an engineering division officer for deployment to the Mediterranean. She was then assigned to Commander Service Group Two,  as the staff communications officer, and deployed to the North Atlantic.

Her accomplishments earned an assignment to Surface Warfare Department Head School, where she was selected for the Admiral Arleigh Burke Leadership Award. Other assignments and deployments followed, including her first at-sea command of the ammunition ship USS Shasta. 

She also served three times as an executive assistant in the Pentagon. In 2001, she assumed duties as commanding officer of USS Bridge in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where she had the responsibility to re-supply 10 carrier strike groups and amphibious groups, and dozens of coalition ships.

Upon receiving the rank of Rear Admiral, she reported as deputy chief of Navy Reserve. In 2005, Rear Admiral Pottenger became commander,  Military Sealift Fleet Support Command in Norfolk, Va., with responsibility for more than 40 ships. From that command, she received her current assignment as CDREXSTRIKGRU SEVEN, based in Japan.

Rear Admiral Pottenger visits the Purdue NROTC unit at least once a year and takes great pride and interest in mentoring the future leaders of the Navy.

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