Soror Carlisle, whose son is also an Army veteran, served as a supply specialist. She has fond memories of the security and structure military service provided as well as meeting people from all over America.
She also has not so fond memories of the early morning awakenings and the physical training.
“I hated running and still do,” Soror Carlisle said.
Soror Carlisle, who pledged Mu Theta Zeta graduate chapter in Germany, says she believes the military and Zeta have important similarities – service and loyalty.
“Sometimes in the military, as well as in our blessed sorority, decisions are made that you may not agree with or understand,” said Carlisle. “But, because you took the oath, you stay faithful to the pledge you swore to.”
To young ladies considering military service she offers this advice:
“Research the different branches of the services. Look to those who have served short and long term. Have a plan of what/where you see yourself in the future. How will the military help you fulfill that path? What exactly is it that the you want to accomplish? How long do you want your commitment to the military to be! Do not be afraid. The military should be a stepping stone into the future if you are unsure what direction you want to go.”
Military service did not come without sacrifice and challenges for Soror Carlisle. She endured racism and gender discrimination.
“I got to my first duty station with questions like: ‘What are you? Are you black or white? Are you American? Where were you born? Where your parents from?’ I learned to bite my tongue a lot”, she said.
“At that time, women in the military were not looked at favorably. The climate was rapidly changing but some old heads (senior Non Commissioned Officers) still thought the army was not meant for women,” Carlisle recalled.
Still the rewards, outweighed the obstacles and she when on the have a long career with military as a veteran and civilian.
“I was able to get a job with the Department of Army where I was able to still serve the military,” she said. “I was able to travel overseas and state side. I was able to retire after 33 years. I was even able to deploy with soldiers to Iraq and support not out soldiers but military from other countries.”
On a final note, Soror Carlisle offers this comparison:
“Our sorority helps us to bridge our differences and respect those differences as well. We learn that as women from all different backgrounds, we can come together to serve a greater purpose. We learn that lifting others, teaching, sisterhood and serving our communities is giving back something that is far greater than ourselves. In the military, we learn we are different but we support and defend each other and not only this nation but others. We learn camaraderie, and although we come from different backgrounds, we learn and grow from our daily interactions with each other.”
Well-stated Soror Carlisle. We are blessed and honored to have you as a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and the Sigma Omega Zeta chapter. We appreciate your for your military service and your service to our sorority and the communities we serve.
“Friendship and Solidarity” by Soror Sibongile Lynch
In 2014 Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated became a leading advocate for the Women Veterans ROCK initiative. The program, through a ten-year commission by the Healthy Caregiver Community Foundation, supports women and girls in military families’ shift from serving in the military to serving in their communities. As a service-oriented organization, Zeta Phi Beta is committed to this enterprise as we advocate for positive community role models and a legacy of women leaders.
To commemorate the signing of the historic agreement with Women Veterans ROCK, Sigma Omega Zeta Chapter is honored to highlight our own members who have served proudly in the United States Armed Forces.
We proudly salute Soror Arlene Grant.
Soror Arlene Grant, served as an E4 Specialist in the Georgia Army National Guard for seven years, from 1991-1998, where she worked as a carpenter and brick mason.
Soror Grant is part of a military family, but asserts that although her brothers were in the U.S. Airforce and Army, this did not influence her decision to become a soldier. Having obtained an Associate’s Degree in Civil Engineering and working as a drafter, drawing house plans, Soror Grant was motivated to join the military by a desire to learn how houses were built.
Though the hours were long, Soror Grant says the camaraderie with her fellow soldiers is what she enjoyed most while serving our country. That friendship and solidarity is what she found when she became a member of Sigma Omega Zeta Chapter in spring 2019. Grant says, “The camaraderie with fellow soldiers is the same as the sisterhood of a sorority. In the military you are serving your country, and in a sorority you are serving your community. They both give you a sense of accomplishment.”
Military training, Grant explained, helped her “to make sound decisions and great judgement calls” in her life, and helped her to avoid many of life’s pitfalls. Her message to young women considering a life as a soldier is that, “the military teaches you discipline and skills for many aspects of your life.” There is also “the opportunity to travel and meet new people all over the world…a free education, and a guaranteed home loan.”
As a result of consistent learning opportunities in the service, the desire to learn and grow has spilled over into civilian life for Soror Grant. She currently holds three degrees in Education: a Bachelor of Science in Education from Georgia State University; a Masters of Education and Educational Specialist degree from Brenau University. Grant is also working towards a Ph.D., but of her many accomplishments, she is proud that her carpentry skills have allowed her to remodel her home. “Over the years, I have saved tons of money on costly home repairs;” doing the painting, wood floor installations, plumbing, and electrical work herself!
Soror Grant is an inspiration, and we are so proud that she is a part of our sisterhood. Thank you, Soror Grant for your service! We know that your service to our community will continue through your dedication to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.