Beth Carl, USAF 1996-2017
My name is Beth Carl. I’m kind of from all over. My dad was in the Air Force, so I moved around quite a bit. My parents live in Virginia now. Currently though my husband and I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was in the Air Force. I’m retired now. I just retired on July 4, 2017. I was in from February ‘96 to July of 2017, so 21 years. My first, first nine were active duty and then the last was all in the Reserves and I did my reserve duty in Virginia at Langley Air Force Base. I was, as I said, I was a, or I’m not sure if I said it, but I was a nurse and my very first assignment was at Andrews Air Force Base and that was in Maryland and I was on a medicine floor and that’s just general patients with any sort of illness, they come onto that floor. I was also, they actually had a VIP floor in the hospital so it was all just for generals that came in. So that was interesting, although, we treated everybody the same.
And then I went on, I moved to Germany and I was, I worked on a medical surgical floor and also did labor and delivery and then moved to Langley. And that’s where I worked, actually in a family practice clinic and also in the ER and I did ER nursing for the last, um, 11, 12 years of the Reserves. And why did I join? I, you know, and I, I get a little choked up, I’m sorry. Um, but my father was in the Air Force … Sorry, this is going to but … And so a strong, you know, sense of duty to country. I’m very proud of my father. I was happy to, to join. I actually tried to join via the ROTC program in college and was initially accepted and then, you know, circumstances occurred and that didn’t happen for me. So after college I joined.
And how did it effect my life? Well it was my whole life. I, as my husband mentioned in his story, I met him over in … When we were both deployed to Saudi Arabia, so I, you know, met my husband there, so that’s a major effect. It also gave me amazing training, met wonderful people. And let’s see, any stories? Well, I, my, husband mentioned that my father and his father were, they were roommates on a carrier during Vietnam. They, so they kind of kept in touch over the years and, Dan and I were both deployed to the same location for Operation Iraqi Freedom in Saudi Arabia and my dad contacted him and, and so we actually met, met through that and so it sounds like an arranged marriage, but really we, we did love each other and… Anyway, so we, we got married and, yeah. So that’s, that’s … We … I don’t know any actual military nursing.
One, one particular kind of interesting case when I was … After Saudi Arabia, I went with a group to Iraq and we took over for the Army surgical hospital and, and that was kind of interesting touring that hospital. It was like walking into the TV show M.A.S.H., you know, where they’re just right on the front lines and, and it was just, yeah, very interesting and, and sad, and scary to tour that facility that they were taking down and then our Air Force facility was being put up in place of that once all the immediate, bad stuff happened. And, so that was just kind of interesting.
One of my, one of the patients that we had come in was actually an Iraqi prisoner who they were flying somewhere and he was crashing in the helicopter, so they actually landed and brought him to our hospital and our emergency room physicians, you know, tried to stabilize him. So it was, wa- … I didn’t see as much being an Air Force nurse as a lot of probably the Army nurses, but it was an interesting eye-opening experience for sure being deployed to those countries and as I said, I’m very proud of my service, our military, and I would do it again for sure.