BA 1977, History
HDR 2007, College of Liberal Arts
Deputy Chief of Staff, Capability Development, United States Navy
Vice Admiral Carol M. Pottenger is the Deputy Chief of Staff, Capability Development at NATO Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Norfolk, VA.
Pottenger graduated from Purdue, and was commissioned as an ensign through NROTC. One of the first women selected for sea duty, Pottenger reported aboard USS Yosemite (AD 19) as engineering division officer. Subsequent sea tours included assignment as operations officer aboard USS Yellowstone (AD 41) and executive officer aboard USS Kiska (AE 35). Pottenger assumed command of USS Shasta (AE 33) in 1996, completing several deployments in support of Commander 5th Fleet and Commander 7th Fleet. She took command of USS Bridge (AOE 10) in 2001, and during an extended deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, re-supplied 10 battle groups, amphibious groups and dozens of coalition ships; receiving the Battle E and the 2002 Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy.
Shore tours have included assignment to Commander, Service Group 2 as staff communications officer; assignment to USNA as the 25th company officer; commanding officer of two Navy Operational Support Centers in Mare Island, CA and San Diego, CA. She also served as COMNAVSURFRESFOR Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, institutionalizing manpower and
personnel best practices across a force of 65,000 Reservists.
During several tours in the Pentagon, Pottenger served as executive assistant for two, three and four
star flag officers, including as executive assistant for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Upon
selection to flag rank she served as Deputy Chief of Navy Reserve for one year. In November 2005
Pottenger established a new Navy command, creating a type commander for over 40 combat logistics
and special mission ships. She served for one year as the first Commander Military Sealift Fleet
Support Command. In November 2006, Pottenger became the first female admiral to command a
strike group when she assumed command of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet/Expeditionary Strike Group
7 at White Beach, Okinawa. In September 2008, Pottenger became the third Commander, Navy
Expeditionary Combat Command as a force provider of 40,000 Sailors, Active and Reserve,
providing unique expeditionary combat and combat support capability to combatant commanders in
every theater of operations.
In May 2007, Pottenger received a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Sciences Honoris Causa from
Purdue. Her personal awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (6
awards), Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards) and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
(2 awards). Pottenger was inducted into Purdue’s Navy ROTC Hall of Fame (2005) and was an Old Master (2009).