By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Josef Green
Defense Information School
Army Spc. Amy Carle, a student at the Defense Information School on Fort Meade, Md., and a platoon guide at the U.S. Army Signal School Detachment Student Company on post, helps a fellow soldier, Pfc. Lauren Ogburn, on Feb. 17, 2016, before a morning formation. Carle, who works for Google at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, joined the California National Guard in 2014 with a desire to use her professional skills to serve the country.
Spc. Amy Carle, a member of the California Army National Guard, displays her positive attitude during a Feb. 17, 2016, photo shoot before graduating from the Basic Public Affairs Specialist Course at the Defense Information School on Fort Meade, Md., Carle completed the 56-day course, which covers journalism, photojournalism and public affairs, on Feb. 19 as the distinguished honor graduate.
In 2012, Amy Carle scheduled a trip to New York with a team of co-workers to volunteer at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
Hurricane Sandy struck shortly before the team’s arrival, causing Carle and her colleagues to redirect their attention to Rockaway Beach on Long Island, where they assisted in disaster-relief operations.
There, Carle saw once-comfortable vacation homes that had become flooded heaps of sticks and wire. Trees were uprooted. Cars were flipped along sand-filled roadways. Looters plundered empty homes.
Many of the people who had stayed behind to face the hurricane had no alternatives, Carle said. Of those who stayed, many were elderly or disabled and without power – and a second storm was fast approaching.
Knowing that residents thought they had withstood the worst, Carle walked door to door, warning residents and telling them about a shelter and supply hub her team was helping to set up.
While Carle has always had a passion for service, the experience was transformative and empowering, she said.
“Two things stood out to me,” said Carle, a short brunette with warm, brown eyes and an easy smile. “First of all, just being there willing to help was meaningful and made a difference. I knew that this was something the National Guard does. It also made me rethink all the excuses I had been making about why I couldn’t join the military.”
Now a specialist in the California National Guard and a graduate of the Basic Public Affairs Specialist Course at the Defense Information School on Fort Meade, she continues to demonstrate her passion for service.
Carle, who was born in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, in 1979, began volunteering in high school for various causes. She has since helped at food banks and an AIDS clinic, and with a mentorship program that worked with people who were recently released from prison.
“We have a responsibility to be involved,” she said. Even then, “I didn’t feel I was doing enough.”
Carle spent a year and a half at Ohio University before moving to Virginia and then settling in California, where in 2007 she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.
She had always had an interest in joining the military but had little exposure to military life and never thought she had anything to offer, she said.
After college, she married Jason A. Davis, an Army veteran who had enlisted when he was 17 and served as an Apache helicopter mechanic.
“I grew up in a really progressive area in Ohio, and nobody really joined there,” she said. “At the time, there were those ‘Army of One’ commercials and there was always this guy zip-lining. It was very masculine, and I didn’t think I had anything to offer in that way. But, the more I talked to my husband about his experiences in the military, the more I wanted to be involved.”
Carle now works as a data governance program manager for Google at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.
When she began her volunteer work with the Google veterans network, known internally as VetNet, she was one of approximately 500 civilians and veterans in the group. She helped grow the organization to more than 1,100 employees and today runs its Mountain View chapter. She also supports a diversity team that helps recruit veterans.
“She was instrumental in launching the veteran website and getting veterans hired at Google,” said Joe Garfola, Carle’s supervisor at the company.
Working side by side with veterans and helping them accomplish meaningful work in the community during their annual volunteer trips, Carle gained a better understanding of what she had to offer the military.
“It was amazing to see how, working together, you can achieve so much more than an individual can do,” Carle said. “I was actually contributing things with only the skills that I had already, and it made me realize that it was something that I could do.”
In February 2014, at 34, Carle joined the National Guard.
She began her training at DINFOS in November and completed the Basic Public Affairs Specialist Course on Feb. 19 as the distinguished honor graduate.
While at DINFOS, she led and served others as a platoon guide at the U.S. Army Signal School Detachment Student Company on Fort Meade, which houses soldiers attending the school.
“Carle is a really good leader,” said Army Spc. Adam Parent, a member of her platoon and a classmate of hers at DINFOS.
“She serves others by using her leadership skills,” Parent said. “She is always the one to volunteer to get work done, and she pushes the rest of her team to work as hard as she does.”
Carle said she was looking forward to taking the skills she learned at DINFOS back to her unit and to serving as a military public affairs specialist.
“I perceived there is a gap between the civilian community and the military community,” she said. “It’s important that we bridge that gap. It took me longer to get here, but I’m grateful to be given this opportunity.”