Women of the Military

Empowering Women through storytelling

Episode Summary

Kerri is empowering women through storytelling. Kerri also has a podcast sharing the stories of military women (Freedom Sisters Podcast) and this week she launched Freedom Sisters Magazine. Hear the story behind the women making a positive impact on military women.

Episode Notes

This episode is sponsored by Freedom Sister Magazine!

Kerri found herself as a mom of three about to be a single mom with an opportunity to join the military. She decided to take the opportunity to join and began her military career. She served on active duty within the Missouri National Guard. Within six years of being in the National Guard she went from Enlisted to Officer. When her unit was deployed, they needed a Public Affairs Officer and she said yes to the opportunity and deployed to Iraq as a Public Affairs Officer. She shared stories of her experience in Iraq and the stories she was able to cover.

Coming home from deployment

When she came home from the deployment, she moved to Maryland to be closer to her kids and life seemed to be going well. Then the government shut down and she was furloughed and eventually lost her job. She frantically searched for a new job and moved again this time to Washington. Eventually, she got a part-time job and filled in her income bartending and eventually became full time.

She learned about Ms. Veteran American competition and competed in 2013 and was the second runner up and then took home the title in 2015. She went back on active duty National Guard in 2014 while serving as Ms. Veteran America. Through her advocacy work, she learned about the challenges military women and veterans face.

Life changes

She was working to become one of the first women to be in a combat role in her state when she found out she was pregnant. This unexpected, but a joyful event, changed her focus and she made the hard choice to leave the military behind so she could be home with her infant. Her husband continued to serve and is now retired.

Empowering Women through sharing stories

Out of a dream she decided to launch Freedom Sisters Media and now runs a podcast and media company. There are a number of transitioning resources out there, but there is still a void in the spiritual aspect of living in the military. Kerri is working to fill that gap and make an impact.

Connect with Kerri:


Mentioned in this episode:

Freedom Sister Magazine (affiliate link)

Is Boycotting the Military the Right Choice?

Related Episodes:

Women out to change the World - Episode 4

Sirens: How to Pee Standing Up - Episode 87

Sharing the Stories of Military Women - Episode 72

Check out the full transcript here.  

Thank you to my Patreon Sponsor Col Level and above:
Kevin Barba, Adriana Keefe

Thank you Patreon members for your support. Want early access to episodes, ad-free content, and one on one mentorship advice? Become a Patreon member today! Click here.   

Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman00:00

Welcome to Episode 108 of the women of the military podcast this week. My guest is Carrie Jeter, Carrie and I met when I was interviewed for her podcast, the freedom sisters podcast. She also interviews women veterans about their military experience. But she has a slightly different take on how she does each interview. But it was fun to do the initial interview with her and she asked some similar questions. One of my favorite being what advice would you give to women who are considering the military. So if you love women on the military podcast, if you want to hear more stories of military woman, make sure you head over to check out Kerry's podcast, and I recorded this interview back in the summer, I might have got a little far ahead. So we don't talk about her new project that she's working on that just released this week, the freedom sisters magazine, but that came out this week. And it's something that she has been working really hard on the past few months. And I'm excited to see how it all turns out. And I am going to be a writer for The magazine. So I wasn't in the first issue, but I'll be in a future issue soon. So it's really exciting to get to share Carrie's story this week. And it's exciting that it happened to line up with launch week, I didn't even have to move the schedule around to make that happen. So that's really exciting. So I'm excited to share her interview of her story of military service, and what she's doing today. It's another great interview. So let's get started. You're listening to season three of the woman on the military podcast. Here you will find the real stories of female service members. I'm Amanda Huffman, I am an Air Force veteran, military spouse and Mom, I Korean women in the military podcast in 2019. As a place to share the stories of female service members past and present, with the goal of finding the heart of the story, while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world, keep tuned for this latest episode of women in the military. So glad to have you on the show today. Welcome.


Kerrie Jeter02:26

Thanks. I'm really glad to be here.


Amanda Huffman02:29

So let's start with why did you decide to join the military?


Kerrie Jeter02:33

So I decided to join the military because I was a mom of three kids. And I had been doing just a bunch of kind of odd jobs in the very last job I had prior to joining the military was an accounting assistant for a truck driving company. And I wanted a bit more stability and benefits and things of that nature. And I had a little bit of college. So I also needed a way to pay for the rest of my college because I knew that was important for me. But the real reason I joined was because I wanted to be the hero of my own story. And I didn't realize that until I looked back on what my life looked like in that moment. But going forward from like this accounting position. And starting over in Missouri, I put on a business suit and a blazer and went into an interview on Whiteman Air Force base for the Army National Guard. And I walked in as a civilian into a military board with three soldiers sitting behind and I wasn't really I didn't really know what to expect. And so they interviewed me like a regular board. And on their little matrix sheet i guess i outscored based on like my education, my background, etc. And they called me three days later and said, Hey, can you come take a PT test? So we can see if you're, like, physically fit to take this job? And oh, by the way, if you do take this job, you have to join the army and cool with that. And I was like, Yes. And yes. So I knew I wanted something more. And I knew I was an athlete. And so I figured it wouldn't be hard for me to take a PT test and things like that. So away I went and I scored well, and I shipped super fast I interviewed in November, I signed the contract the fifth of December, and I was at basic training the second of January. Yes, super fast. And that is how the entire career for me went was rapid speed all the time. 


Amanda Huffman04:25

And you said you're already a mom, right?


Kerrie Jeter04:28

I was.


Amanda Huffman04:29

What was it like she had to leave and go to boot camp and do all that stuff. And like you can't take kids with you. So how did you figure out like childcare and how did you get all that figured out? Especially with a short timeframe?


Kerrie Jeter04:41

Yeah, so I technically was still married to my daughter's husband. So the funny story is really while they were wild, just about kind of life. I was a teen mom married once and had two sons from that marriage divorced, only married when I was 20. 20, I think so I had already been married twice, but I was 20 years old, which is good. Crazy rapid, right? My whole life, like a fire hose. So I left, obviously the kids went to their dads. So the boys went with their dad, who was not really supportive, like when we were married, I wanted to join the Air Force, and he wouldn't allow me to because of the guardianship, paperwork and all of that. So he I don't think was really stoked about it. And then my current husband, we were going to be getting divorced. And he wasn't really excited about it either. But I knew that that's what my life was. That's what was shaping up to be my life. So I knew I was going to be the sole provider for all three of them when I was done with basic training. And so I did have to fill out a family care plan with both of them being the care providers, and that actually stayed my family care print plan the rest of the time, even when I deployed, they just went back to their fathers for that time. But basic training as a 22 year old with three kids was really wild. I actually my daughter, I shipped when she was nine months old, and she's 14 now. But I spent victory forge during her birthday, so I got pictures like day three of victory forge in Mail Call of her party, and I'm like in my sleeping bag, just crying over these pictures, like I missed this first milestone, and I did not realize how many milestones I would miss. I thought that would be the only one and I remember just crying in my sleeping bag at night and then having to put on you know, the soldier kit the next day and execute the mission. And so that was my introduction to motherhood and military life.


Amanda Huffman06:31

Yeah, that would be really hard, like a wake up to like the reality of what military life was gonna be like, and how, how many sacrifices you're gonna have to make. So with basic training, and did you go to tech school, right after?


Kerrie Jeter06:45

I did, I went to Fort Jackson for both. So I literally just went down the road to AIT for Human Resources. And I was in a pilot program for that as well to do it as a fast track. So I was at AIT for only, I think, eight, seven and a half weeks. So I was gone. I was at basic training longer than I was at AIT. And then I came back to Missouri National Guard and went in uniform full time. So I had been in uniform my entire career every day, in the fatigues.


Sponsor  07:19

And now we're from our sponsor, its launch week for freedom sisters magazine, I am so excited to be a part of the freedom sisters magazine. And I'm so excited that it's finally here. And you can download the app and check out the first issue of freedom sisters media magazine this week. And this week on the podcast, I'm talking to Carrie Jeter, and she is the founder creator. I don't know how she keeps all the tests that she's doing done to put this magazine together. But you're hearing her story this week. And you're hearing her passion for women veterans and how she came to where she is today. And so I'm so excited to share her story this week, the week that the magazine launches. So go get your copy today, head over to freedomsisters.com to get signed up, or you can go to the link in the show notes. Now let's get back to the show. 


Amanda Huffman08:18

So, I think some people might not know that you can do Active National Guard. Isn't it AGR? 


Kerrie Jeter08:24

Yep AGR. There's a couple of ways actually to wear the uniform full time. If you are in the National Guard. It can be a dual status technician, which I kind of interchanged between dual size technician in aid off orders, which are active duty operational service or something I don't know what eight asked us for. So you can do those two things or be AGR. And so as a m day soldier, I chose to be a dual status technician. That's how I got hired on full time. It wasn't that so as a GS scale, and then you still serve you're one week in a month, two weeks a year. So you're basically working full time for the unit all the time to prepare for that one weekend, a month, two weeks a year that everybody else that is not a full timer comes into learn or whatever training it is that we need to do, whether you're whatever deployment cycle is or whatever big army pushes down, that the National Guard needs to support. Those are the things that we prepare for all month long for that weekend.


Amanda Huffman09:22

Yeah, that's kind of crazy. I think sometimes people don't realize like all the dynamics and complexities that there are with National Guard. So how many people were on active duty like with you that were working with you during that month getting ready for that one weekend, a month?


Kerrie Jeter09:37

It really depended on the unit. I was at the honest so most battalion level units, which is where I was majority of the time, I guess there's probably 15 full timers. And that doesn't include so that's just for the admin staff. That doesn't include for I was aviation, the flight line, folks. So the flight line people you're At another 45 to 50, depending on the airframe, and all of that, because I was Army Aviation, which was helicopters primarily, but then I became HQ, which is headquarters HHC at a battalion level command as a second lieutenant, which is crazy, also very fast. And then we had fixed wing as well. So it just really depends on what kind of unit you are, to be honest. And then I went to join forces headquarters and their staff. I mean, you're talking 200 to 300 people on staff, full time at headquarters to meet the mission of the state, and we had about 8,000 soldiers,


Amanda Huffman10:41

And did you enlist and then become an officer or were you an officer the whole time?


Kerrie Jeter 10:46

I enlisted because I had some college, I enlisted as a PA, PFC. So as a private first class, and I went from E three, which is a PFC 203, which is a captain in six years in, I went that route, the OCS and again, OCS was fast track. Because in the National Guard, you can go 15 months, 18 months program, where you're a traditional m day soldier where you go one week, two weeks a year to reset up your Walker to reset up and get in the mind frame that you're going to be attacked by tech officers and like just put through the wringer one month, one weekend, a month, two weeks a year. And for my structure, my family, I knew if I was going to do it, I had to go fast track because again of the kid situation, the timing of the year it would have been and all of those things, and coming up with care. I mean, I later in my career, taught OCS traditional OCS. And on the other side of it teaching you you were still putting in 60 hours, it was crazy. There would have been no way I could have worked a full time job gone to traditional OCS took care of the kids and finished college. Are you kidding me? Like I had to figure out a way I could do it that was beneficial to my my family. And so I went fast track it was like 64 days of phase one, two, and three. And that was crazy. We went to the Alabama Military Academy down at Fort McClellan Alabama, the home of the wack. And so that was kind of cool. The lineage there of going back to the same barracks that you know, the pioneers of the Women's Army Corps lived works, breathe eight. So that was really special. But it was intense. And I definitely only recommend it if you have like the intestinal fortitude to get up every day at super early and stay up super late for 64 days of I don't know, I'd say hell it was hell, it was a lot of work.


Amanda Huffman12:38

I haven't heard anything good about OCS from the people that I have talked to. And that sounds even more intense than what the other people have lived through.


Kerrie Jeter12:46

I've loved OCS, I loved it. Because I like high energy. But I love teaching it way more than I loved going through it. Because now you on the other side, you kind of see why they're doing what they're doing. When you're going through it, you don't really understand. But at the end of the day, like for me, it's like you guys are future leaders. Could I entrust you with the mission, and then America sons and daughters and guess what I have American sons and daughters in my home in so you want to make sure that you could put as much stress on a soldier to ensure that they are going to act appropriately and do the right thing, regardless of the scenario they're in. And so it sucks, but only the ones that are meant to be leaders survive, because you have to be able to manage a personal stress and all of that and still continue the mission and take care of yourself soldiers. And so it's really important for it to be crazy.


Amanda Huffman13:42

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And that's kind of the general feeling that I got from the other women that I've interviewed that it's it's tough. And it's for those reasons that you mentioned. So that that makes a lot of sense. So is there anything from your time in the military that really stands out or a memory that you want to share with us?


Kerrie Jeter14:01

Sure. So something that really stands out for me was deployment and deployment for me from the beginning to the end was 18 months long, because a Pre-MOB then your MOB and then you come back. And I also switched mlss branches during Pre-MOB. So I went from being a Finance Officer, which is what I commissioned into to being a Public Affairs Officer. So I could go on this mission. They wanted me to go as their as one officer, which that's a funny kind of story in itself. And I couldn't get into that school. And so I could get into PA school. And so I was like hey look and then check it out. The S1 officer was a First Lieutenant but the PAO was a Captain. And I knew it was coming up on that promotion. But if I was in a slot that is not a captain slot, then you stay the rate that you are in the position that they assign you. It so I was like, How can this be mutually beneficial because otherwise I can't go on this deployment too. support you. And so the commander signed off because they needed to fill the PA o slot also for me to go and trust it my abilities because I was already working for them in the S3, which is, I don't know, it's so complex, the National Guard will put able bodies where they need them that can do the mission regardless of what their MOS or their background is. And so I left in with to pay off school and then the deployment though, what was cool, the coolest thing about that before we got to Kuwait, we were the first in after the Iraq Iraqi down downsizing into Kuwait. And so we stood up partnerships and all of that, well, what they did when they downsize from being like, high end or conflict to you know, bringing troops home and and downsizing the troops there. They pulled out the Navy assets to overwater recovery. And we flew helicopters, and we were going on Navy boats doing deck landing qualifications isn't joint mission. Well, if one of our helicopters would have gone down in the Persian Gulf, it would have been over four hours for Navy assets to come back in to rescue our pilots. And we were like absolutely not happening Our brigade commander was amazing and very innovative. It was like, we have a medic, we have MEDEVAC. So let's train the medic-evacs to do overwater recovery. So I documented that entire program, we stood up a program in the Missouri Army National Guard for what is now a program for the entire Army. We are ground assets and overwater assets. And so that was probably the coolest thing that I had been able to be part of.


Amanda Huffman16:33

Yeah, that's a really cool story. And you were talking about like S1 and S3. And if someone's not familiar with the Army, they might be like, what the heck? But that's just how the Army breaks things down. And like S1 stands for personnel. S3s are like the Tactical Operations Center. But it's just like where the Army wants people. That is really cool. And that's when I interview people who are in the PA career field, they always tell the coolest stories of stuff they get to do and it's just amazing.


Kerrie Jeter17:03

Yeah, it was cool, because I also partnered with the USO when I was deployed, and so I got to take people out on tours. So like spark as part of kids from Showtime, like super amazing, good looking men that are gladiators or Spartans or whatever that were on this thing and everyone was raving about. And I have played with them. And man Oh, man, oh, I think is the same. He flew on this Blackhawk, right. And he was squeezing my leg and holding my hand and we were doing maneuvers that the pilots got scolded for later, but it was the best helicopter ride I had ever been on. But he was like freaking out and their faces were just so funny. And that was probably one of my most memorable experiences in the helicopter and on deployment. So yeah, if PAO is legit, like if you want to do anything in media, and you're in the military to pay Oh, it always drives me crazy, because I am a PAO, I was a Public Affairs Officer. But Public Affairs is the branch but a lot of enlisted get called PAO too. But anyway, I digress. But if you want it to do any writing, or you love broadcasting, radio, any kind of media, they've even created more social media things now for the program, do it like figure out how to request on your 4187 to become a PA personnel. So super awesome gig.


Amanda Huffman18:25

Yeah. And there's so many opportunities in the military that you would never get if you're a civilian, you can't do until even the career field I was a civil engineer, and we were out on the ground watching buildings being built. And that doesn't usually happen in like the civilian career field. And or it's something that happens only in certain jobs. And so you get so much responsibility and so much opportunity to do that. And there's like limited people, so you're doing like 10 different things. And you're learning about journalism, and like taking photos and doing this and doing that. And so it's really cool. I just, I mean, obviously now I'm like, Oh, I wish I went to PA school because it really helped me out now. I'm like a fangirl, Pa. I think it's a lot to do with what I'm doing today. Yeah, that's really cool. So what was it like to integrate back? After going to a deployment you were gone? 18 months total, and you are still active duty guard. So it wasn't like you went back to your civilian job. But what was it like just to integrate back into your family and just life in general?


Kerrie Jeter19:30

So, I actually left Missouri and went to Maryland after I got home from deployment to take a full time position as a civilian so no more uniform and was going to transfer to the PA o office in Maryland for their national guard. And I went to work for defense media agency as a hometown news release person. Well, this was 2013. And I don't know how many of you remember that the government was in like shutdown number two, maybe three. And when they shut us down, everyone from DMA went home. And I was super stressed because now I moved, I had a house back in Missouri, it was paying for rent in Maryland, which is not cheap, a job I didn't know and maybe shouldn't be even took because I, literally one day from my work headquarters walking over to my shoe, somebody had said, hey, I've got a connection at the Pentagon that's looking for public affairs. And it's, it's orders, and you would have to move and all of that, but you being a captain at the Pentagon, so you'd be making coffee and taking notes more than anything. And I was like, I pray to God walking from brigade. So you might choose, like, if you just give me this job, I promise like, blah, blah, blah, like that kind of prayer. Like got the job. I still had other interviews I had put out for in the DMA just seemed better, because it was closer to where my sons were. And then there was less Can you and all the other things and so then it took the bright and shiny thing that approach took it to begin with, it's a guess, over four DMA over the Pentagon turned down the orders, and then got to work as a civilian. Well, then the furlough happened. So it was kind of like, what would have happened, because everyone else that was in uniform, still got paid during the shutdown, orders are not. And so then we were told that they were shutting down hometown news release, because it just wasn't a thing wasn't going to be a thing. So I did any rational thing with her different job and moved across the country. So I left Washington, DC came to Washington state for a position here with their pa Oh, and I didn't get hired on full time. So that was kind of an identity crisis for me, because I was like, Well, why not? They didn't know me. So I was coming with no reputation or no knowing. But I interviewed really well, but they just didn't hire me full time. I don't know what happened there. But no big deal. So then I ended up bartending again, in Washington State. And I ended up being a spa receptionist, which rapidly changed into a spa director because they realized, like all the things I could do for them, and a lot of my skills in the military, from finance, HR, PAO, I managed, like all of their budgeting, I managed all of their marketing, I managed all of their scheduling, and then transferred all of their people files to electronic files. So because I had all of that skill set, and then I competed for Miss Veteran America 2015. And they basically fired me because I was going back to the army full time. And I was all focused on this competition. And so as I'm leaving to go compete waiting for my orders from army because they wanted me to come full time at the OCS Academy here in Washington State. I had no job for like October to February of that year. But I left I went to Vegas as a competitor from Ms. Veteran America and left Vegas the winner. The only time I've gone to Vegas, I've been since but that was my first trip and I came back a big winner. So even though I came back to no job, I was able to get unemployment until February. And then I went back into the Army full time how I got out in 2018.


Amanda Huffman23:01

And let's talk a little bit about Miss Veteran America because it's a really cool program. And I just learned about it right before I started the podcast. And so I want to hear about how you heard about it and how you got involved. And then what did you do when you were the winner? 


Kerrie Jeter23:17

Okay, so I find that to actually compete it twice. So January of 2013, a friend of mine had sent me a link about a veteran America they've heard of it, when I saw it was quote unquote, a pageant, which they really hate that word in bliss better in America world, because there's no objectifying women, there's no swimsuit, or doesn't matter what your body looks like in order to win a bunch of other reasons that they look for to grade you on whether you become the winner. So the person that told me about it, actually, I only know her because when you're deployed, there's a cup of joe program where civilians combined soldiers or Airmen or whatever, a cup of coffee, whether deployed from the coffee shack, and you could choose to just take the code and get your free cup of coffee, or you could become pen pals and write them and thank them for their contribution. So like any good pa Oh, I love writing and I love people and whatever. I think that's just my my nature anyway. And it was very thankful because it was so selfless to just love on people where they deploy. And so I wrote her and we came in house and then she tells me about what's better. America lighter with grants a fundraiser for me all these things. So in 2013, I took second runner up, so I was in the top three, and then I didn't compete in 2014. And not winning kind of hit me hard in 2013. Like it was like a punch in the gut because Elena who won who who's great friends, she did like a hula skit thing and then the girl that was above me she read off of a tablet, somebody else's speech that she just performed, I don't like was to somebody like, but in my mind, I'm like, man, I wrote an original piece and recited it from memory and joy. apart and all this stuff, so I just felt like I was a cut above. And then they asked this the questions in front of everybody. And you can ask them history and legacy all day long. But they had asked like Alina, what do you think about the legacy you come from? And then asked Liz about the legacy of present day and then ask me the question of the future women coming into the military. And I was like, I didn't want to repeat what they said. So I don't know what I said. But it was eloquent enough in 2013. And so then 2014, I didn't compete, I was in a relationship, and he was deployed. And so I just was like my mind, besides coming home from deployment, moving, trying to refigure out what I am being in this relationship with, so I deployed and all of that it was just too much to take on something else. And so I waited, and God prompted me to go back in 2015, in when I say God prompted me it was literally an act of obedience, something that I, I always like, toe the line, and sometimes I step over the line in white is like, quote, unquote, expected of me. So I was like, Okay, I hear you, I'm gonna do it. So I went back in 2015, and competed just set up a walk of faith. And it was a spiritual journey for me that time, but it didn't really matter, the winning or whatever. But I was the only repeat contender that year, most years, you have like eight to ten repeat contenders. I was the only one. So I asked like, Hey, what's expected of me. And I was told, don't just think you're going to ride the wave. So you got to really put yourself out there go above and beyond. So I did all I could during that year with fundraising, advocacy, all of that. And so 2015 I took I took home the crown. And literally, before I went out on the stage, I went back to the bathroom, because nerves or whatever, and I'm standing in the stall, like just hands open, like, head down, praying, Jesus, like this is it this is your will, it'll lines, give me the words to say, and let your will be done kind of thing. Like, I will serve you I will walk in obedience. And we'll do what it is that you're asking me to do. And I learned my lesson. Because right, I had already made this promise to him. And I'm like, Look, I I'm willing to give it all for you at this point in my life. And I went out on stage, I answered the question and ended up taking the crown and my mom and everybody said, like, our answers weren't that different. It just mine just was like, it sounded like it was just a well eloquently packaged answer. And my talent that year was begun, I have to send you a link. I wrote a skit, and I changed uniform for the legacy of women who served. And so I ended up getting a standing ovation. And so did my first runner up, Rachel, she got a standing ovation to for our talents. So that was pretty cool. And the other thing when I won so what you do you become the spokesperson for Ms Veteran America, and their other organization. Final speaking. So you're talking about homelessness among female veterans, which 70% of women who have served this country that find themselves homeless? Or Guess what, also mom's and for me being military and a mom, that was unset? Because you're stuck in a rock and a hard place? Do you tell somebody that you're homeless and risk the chance of losing your kids? Or do you, you know, live in your car and keep your family intact? And so for me, I don't think anyone who served this country should be homeless and starting to learn about the statistics and that women veterans are also the fastest growing homeless segment in the segment of population of homeless people in the United States was absolutely disgusting to me. And so I was really passionate about the mission and really passionate about advocating for my sisters in service and just all women who serve not just the homeless demographic of our group, but as you know, you're my, this is my people. This is my community. And I'm so passionate about the legacy that we've stepped into in service and to continue to inspire and educate and advocate for for our veteran community to is really big. So I you're supposed to do 100 hours. By the time August rolled around in 2016. I already had about 500 hours of volunteer time dedicated to this veteran America, traveled a whole bunch spoke all across the country, love babies, went to baby showers, parades, stood up at multiple home development, HUD stuff, talk to just different organizations that wanted to support but didn't know didn't know how to support and so we would go talk at their events and things. And yeah, it was a wild ride. It was a good experience on my skydived in a dress. That was fun, too, for a promotion. And yeah, it was just a wild ride. It's such a good thing. And I really that year of running around the country and speaking on behalf of my sisters and services really were the heart of the ministry that I'm doing now began. And I didn't know that then but I know that now.


Amanda Huffman29:57

That's such a cool story. It's crazy to see how That has translated into something that you're doing today. So you left the military and 2018. And why did you decide to go off or not go off? But why did you decide to get out and


Kerrie Jeter30:13

Go off the deep end! Exactly! Why did I leave? Yeah, that's a that's a great question. So I was training to go to Ranger School training to go to captain's career course, or when you first become infantry or armor. So I was preparing to go to Triple C maneuvers course, I wanted to go to Ranger School, I was in the running for my state, and then I would be pending on major in 2017, January 2017. So and June of 2016, the same year that I was doing all of the advocacy from veteran America, I was supposed to ship for captain's career course in June, well, May of 2016, I found out that I was pregnant. So here I am advocating for women veterans, and trying to lead the way by getting being the first in my state to get that officer slot in the armor or if a tree branch and God had other plans. And sometimes for me, because I am super hard charger and stubborn. And and like I said, obedience is not always my thing. I had for the last three years kind of been contemplating, is this right for me? Should I continue? If I'm in, I'm all in? Is this still the best place for my family? And that was kind of wrestling with God for over three years for that. So from deployment all the way through. And then that's why the civilian job seems like a better option. Well, maybe he's showing me a sign, throw me a bone, right? And so then I'm like, Okay, well, literally, the last 10 years of my life, I have no reason to believe that I could still even conceive, maybe TMI, but I had no menstrual cycle, I had nothing like going on in my body. And all of a sudden, there was a lot of activity, and I thought maybe I had cancer or something was like crazy going on. And so I went to the doctor in late April, early May. And all the tests came back negative, including the pregnancy. So just like Okay, Charlie, Mike, keep continue mission and still work out. So do all the things that I'm doing to prepare for Ranger School, Captain Kirk or something. And they were like, Okay, well, we're going to give you this medicine to maybe try to jumpstart a menstrual cycle for you. And this was a Thursday and Sunday, I was supposed to start taking the pill. And they just had this inkling like, just take one more test. So I took one more test. And I'm 32 at this point, and all of my other pregnancies just were horrible timing young, too young to begin having kids, I love all my children's. So I'm not saying that their timing was not God's timing, but for my life. It just didn't seem like it was a good idea. The first and only was the second. I have five kids now. So this is the first pregnancy where I was like joyful. I was like, I jumped off, you know, I hate on this stick and jumped up and down was like so excited. And I was like, Yes, yes. Like, this is the coolest thing. And I have a really loving husband. Now we weren't married when we got pregnant, but we are now. And I just was like so ecstatic and realized, Oh, I can't go to triple thing now. So the army, which is crazy. And this is like the only thing that really upset me about this is I, I'm an officer, I'm a leader, I will tell my commander myself that I am pregnant. And the medical section had already pushed that I was pregnant, back to my command. And so I didn't even get afforded the opportunity to have this conversation to cancel my school and all of that stuff before before I could even talk to them because they had already found out so I was a little bit irritating. But then I just think you know what, I am going to finish my career here. This, I had OCS phase three coming. That summer, I rocked that I went out in the field, I did all that I should have done seven and a half months pregnant, you know, doing the things that I probably shouldn't have been doing on the field, but knew my body knew knew when I could be successful at and never once put on soft shoes because I was like, I'm not going to look like that. Like I'm gonna be in my boots in the fields, not in my tennis shoes on the built in because I you know, really that is a profession. And I really do believe in the standards are there for a reason. And you know, if I'm going to be in uniform, I want to be in the correct uniform. I didn't read the top, but I didn't wear the bottom. But yeah, so that was the riot got out because I was having a child again. I was getting ready to pin major, like I said in January and take another command and there was no way I could do that. I know the time commitment, and to put an infant in daycare over 60 hours a week for somebody else to raise my baby, not happening. And I'm a firm believer in breastfeeding and bonding and all of that stuff and it works for other people. And if I would have been a single mom, I might have stayed in because I would have been The only provider for this child, but you know, we talked and it just made sense that I got out and not him and to take care of the baby. And that's what I did. And I'm so thankful that I did I absolutely miss it. And I missed it so much for probably the first eight months. And the worst part about it is they kept calling me to come back and I'm like, yo, stop calling me it's already hard enough. Like, I don't want to be in the army anymore, I'm going to do this thing. And the one thing that was like, always came to my mind in my mouth when I was leaving. And, you know, the tag talked to me from my state, the Assistant tech, who shared the same last name with the time was like, everyone called him my uncle, he came to talk to me. And so I'm talking One Stars, Two Stars, full Colonels, everyone's trying to convince me to stay in and everything that came to my mouth was I can do great things outside of the army, too. And God is going to do other things. And so, I know I'm gonna be fine. I know, I love the Army. I know that I'm all in. But I also just love God more and I'm trusting in what he's calling me to do.


Amanda Huffman 36:04

I think that is so important. When you talk about transitioning, I can do great things outside of the military, because I think sometimes the military makes you feel like the only place you can do great things is in the military. And that's not true. You can take your experience in the military, and then use it for your next step. And so I think, if you're listening, and you're in the military, and especially if you're like in that transition, or you're going to get out or you're trying to decide, don't feel like you have to stay in the military to do great things, there's so many things after the military that you can do. And it's not the end. It's the beginning.


Kerrie Jeter36:45

Yeah, absolutely.


Amanda Huffman36:46

So let's talk about what you're doing today, because we met because I was a guest on your podcast, the freedom sisters podcast. So let's talk about what you're doing. And I know that the podcast is like a tiny little piece of all things. So I'm gonna let you explain it because I don't want to mess it all up. Yeah.


Kerrie Jeter37:05

So what I'm doing today is, I had started freedom sisters, February of 2019, I had a dream and went to bed just kind of a bit broken down, like, God, who called me to do Ms Veteran America, you introduced me to this network, you put it on my heart to speak and to advocate and to learn and to really love every woman who served good, bad, right? Wrong, all of them. And yet, I have no way to talk. I have nowhere to advocate, I have nothing to give, like, Where can I go. And I went to bed and I woke up to a literal voice telling me and I don't know that it was God, it could have been an angel just could have been my partner in my dream, I don't know, freedom, sisters calm. So I grabbed my phone, and I saw freedom sisters.com was available. And so I didn't jump on it right away because I had to pay for it. And I waited four months. And then finally was like, okay, it's still there. It's still there, the more I like put it back in the browser, somebody else is going to see it. And I started having that irrational fear until I bought it. And then with the mindset of only being a podcast actually like, okay, your job is to share other stories and you you carry our have all of the skill set to do this, because of what you've learned and we are going to do is you're going to have them come on the show and share their story authentically, through the lens of faith. I want you to point people back to Jesus in a way that's not preachy, or pushy, or any of that just the journey of life, the hardships, the victories, the struggles, the good, and everything in between, on their spiritual journey and work God showed up in their story. And so that's what the podcast is, I literally I ended I asked like a scripture a book and advice for our guests, because I think that's really important. Books are like giving scripture is definitely like giving. And sometimes, you know, you really need something to cling to. And so that's why I ask and most the time, they're different. I think I've had Ephesians, 416, and four, six a lot, which is I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me, but most of the time, they're very different. And it's super cool to see how the living word is given to so many different people. And so that was where it started. And now but I everything has been set up for like what Steven Furtick would say he is a pastor down at elevation church in North Carolina and he had the sermon on flex space. And everything I have done has been like this like space for God to expand and grow more. And so I have the podcast and I've started blogging again thanks to you, actually, you kind of were the inspiration to really push that for other people had given me some insight on how I can repurpose content. But after talking to you, I'm like I'm all in to blog again. And so I blog. I'm getting ready to do my first live production of video. For women in uniform and outside of uniform called Shiro talk, and that's going to be an annual event of just eight women, eight minute stories, empowering other women to do hard things, and giving our side of the history and impacting our communities, changing perspectives, the whole nine. So that's what another thing that I'm doing. And then I'm also going not expanding to YouTube, and I'm writing a book and just all kinds of things. So Britain sisters has grown into a media company, where a faith based multimedia company that we talk about, we dress, the heart issues of politics, social, social constraints, and social and justices and also spiritual issues through the lens of a woman veteran. Yeah. And then so the media side of things is there's a lot of business elements that I can help people with my main niche market is definitely women, veteran businesses and nonprofits to help them tell their story and gain some traction in media traditional and non traditional. So I do some coaching and things of that nature for them branding, audits, podcasts, audits, and I can coach through certain things that they're troubleshooting. But then there's the ministry side of it, too. And that, to me being well, what Megan Brown, who I recently met has played or I don't know, she's coined it, but a Christian communicator, to hear it in that kind of context. And know that all the content that Carrie Jeter from freedom sisters will be producing is in that scope of being a Christian communicator. And the reason all of this matters and why I started it is because going through transition from being full time military into the civilian sector, there are so many services and resources for us transitioning servicemembers, or, you know, housing benefits, health benefits, mental physical, transitioning into the job sector, but the missing braid still is the spiritual element. We are a complete being your physical, mental and spiritual beings, and we are not healing all parts of us, there's, we're gonna still be lacking something. And so I want to step into that space. And my mission is to help women veterans amplify their voice and grow spiritually. And it's amazing. Oh, my goodness, it's just so amazing what's happening.


Amanda Huffman42:20

Yeah, it is. And I, I really love the podcasts. And I really love the first interview you did where your husband interviewed you. It was I was like, dang it. Why didn't I think I just really loved I loved his reactions and like some of his questions, and just like how he views the world of military women after meeting you and marrying you, and how proud he was of you. I just I love that I was. Yeah, and there's the stories are so good. So I really, I really appreciate it. And I'm so thankful that we connected through I don't know how, like, you found me, but I'm so glad that we did cuz it's been such a blessing to me.


Kerrie Jeter43:01

Yeah, it's been awesome. Yeah, he's incredible. He will be the only male you will hear on the Freedom Sisters podcast, because all my guests are women who served but I was the guest that day, right? He was the he was the special host. And I plan on doing you know, your reviews and see where his perspective has changed in things like that, too, because I think it's important for our male allies to see the growth and then be able to express that growth too. And he is a good leader, man, his reputation proceeded himself long before I met him in the army. And yeah, he's just such a special special man. And he's a 26 year Army veteran. So I'm also no spouse, now a veteran spouse. And it's just really cool to see him support me even though we don't agree on everything I talk about or everything like that. But he's still stands for in what God's called me to do in sports with that way. And actually, we're talking about going back to school together to get a master's in biblical studies. So that should be interesting for us to grow in our faith together, and then see how God uses that learning deeper up the Bible for both of us and in the next chapter, what he's got going on. So


Amanda Huffman 44:14

That's so cool. Well, thank you so much for being on the podcast. I really loved hearing your story. And I'm really excited about what you're doing today. So I guess I should link to you in the show notes. But if you want to give like your social media links, that would be great. And then I have one more question.


Kerrie Jeter44:33

Sure. Absolutely. So you guys could find me at www.freedomsisters.com for all things business blog, everything there and then my handle for Instagram and Facebook is freedom sisters media, and I'm also on LinkedIn under Kerri Jeter. Yes, just like Derek Jeter, he is related to my husband. Get the asked that all the time. So look up Kerri Jeter and you should find me on LinkedIn.


Amanda Huffman45:00

And then my last question is What advice would you give to young women who are considering joining the military?


Kerrie Jeter45:05

I love this. I guess we said this on mine, I asked the same question. So right now in this in this environment where we find ourselves, so we're recording pre close to the time that Vanessa key and case has been on every headline, every news station. And so even in this when I'm seeing the no enlistment hashtag, I stand firm, y'all, they win. The culture wins if we don't continue to break the barrier. So I say do it. I say stand firm, equip yourself with a good team, equip yourself mentally for what you're going to go into and prepare your body for the physical. The man for the military does require a view, don't show up half hearted, if you're half hearted, you're not going to enjoy the experience. If you're full hearted, into the lineage that has been established. For women who serve, you will rock it, you matter. You're important. We need you. We need army women or military of women to continue to serve because change does not happen if we concede change only happens if we continue to sign up. We continue to serve. And we continue to show how important we are as military service members for the entire mission. There are jobs from you know, being a cook all the way to being a command, and everything in between playing musical instrument you can serve in the military. So absolutely do it. Make sure you have reliable women who can back you who have been there, find a mentor. Because right now, in this day and age, you can't throw a rock without finding some kind of support group on Facebook or in your town, that there is not a woman who served. So find somebody who can lead you well as you're going into the service, but do it.


Amanda Huffman 46:58

Yeah, I agree. I think like you said, if we stop joining, they win. And that's not what. Yeah, that's how they that's not what we want. We want to give justice for what was done, but also continue to serve and break barriers, because then we can change the future and change the world. So that's great advice. Thank you so much. I'm so glad we got to chat and I'm so excited for when this will go live. 


Kerrie Jeter47:25

Thanks. It's been fun. Thanks for having me.


Amanda Huffman47:27

Thank you for listening to this week's episode of women of the military podcast. Do you love all things women in the military podcast become a subscriber so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. It really helps people find the podcast and helps the podcast to grow. Are you still listening? You could be a part of the mission of telling the stories of military women by joining me on Patreon http://www.patreon.com/womenofthemilitary or you can order my book women of the military on Amazon. Every dollar helps to continue the work I am doing. Are you a business owner? Do you want to get your product or service in front of the woman of the military podcast audience get in touch with a woman of the military podcast team to learn more all the links on how you can support women military podcasts are located in the show notes. Thanks again for listening and for your support.