Vice Admiral (Ret) Carol M. Pottenger graduated from Purdue University in May 1977, and was commissioned as an ensign through NROTC. One of the first women selected for sea duty, Pottenger reported aboard USS Yosemite (AD 19) in 1978. Subsequent sea tours included assignments aboard USS Yellowstone (AD 41) and USS Kiska (AE 35).
Pottenger assumed command of USS Shasta (AE 33) in 1996, and of USS Bridge (AOE 10) in 2001; completing several deployments and awarded the Battle E and the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy.
Shore tours encompassed various afloat staff and Headquarters assignments and at USNA as a company officer. During several tours in the Pentagon, Pottenger served as Executive Assistant, including for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.
Upon selection to flag rank in 2005, Pottenger established a new Type Commander for 40 combat logistics and special mission ships. In 2006 she became the first female to command a strike group - Expeditionary Strike Group 7 / CTF 76, homeported in Japan. In 2008, Pottenger became the third Commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command as a force provider of 40,000 Sailors.
In her final three years she was promoted to Vice Admiral and served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Capability Development at NATO Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. She retired in May 2013, and currently serves on corporate, private and non-profit boards, including as one of two external directors for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Board of Partners and Principals, and for the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation and Surface Navy Association.
In May 2007, Pottenger received an Honorary PhD from Purdue University. Personal awards include the Defense and Navy Distinguished Service Medals, Legion of Merit and other awards; and the Order of St. George presented by Bulgaria.