ATLANTA — A handsome Soldier working at a recruiting station in New Mexico drew the interest of 17-year-old Carman Granville. Although not her recruiter, seeing him was enough to get her in the door and for her to learn about joining the U.S. Army.
Nearly two decades later, Sgt. 1st Class Granville has stayed in because of her experiences and the opportunities in the Army. Her motto, “do better than you’ve been doing and then do better than that."
“I decided to stay because I was fortunate enough to participate in amazing organizations and units doing the high-speed things that people want to do. I’m airborne. I’ve been a drill sergeant.”
Granville has jumped out of airplanes, worked with civil affairs, traveled the world, and attended U.S. Army Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape School.
She says the Army has given her “once in a lifetime experiences.”
“This is the only job where it is never the same when you go to different places,” she said. “You could find yourself at a desk all day, or jumping out of planes or in the wood line somewhere searching your battle buddy for ticks. Really. It’s so broad.”
Granville is one of a handful of active component Soldiers with the 335th Signal Command (Theater). She works in the command’s training directorate, where she manages the execution of individual and collective training.
She brings experience from the full spectrum of the signal world as well as the standards and discipline learned in the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy to a headquarters made up of mostly Army Reserve Soldiers.
A drill sergeant at a basic combat training company at Fort Jackson for two years, Granville loved training and developing new Soldiers. Still, the grueling hours that came with the duty brought challenges for a mom with then two young boys at home.
“For two years, I watched my boys sleep because I left when they were asleep, and I got home when they were asleep,” she said. “I loved being a drill sergeant, but the hours are unforgiving. It’s a thankless job.”
She credits her support structure and her husband, Hubert, taking care of her sons while she was on the trail. “I had the most amazing support group,” Granville said. “I don’t know how my oldest learned to tie his shoes. I don’t know how my second oldest got potty trained. All of that just happened.”
She thanked Hubert for supporting her while her job takes her all over the world. She recently completed a one year tour with the 335th Signal Command (Theater) (Provisional) in Kuwait.
“My husband is a rock star. I don’t know why he’s still with me. But OK. Thank you. Sometimes I tell him, I really do appreciate you being here. Thank you,” she joked.
The rock star is no stranger to Army life. He served for more than a decade and is a small-business owner of a construction company in Evans, Georgia.
Granville is the first female in her family to serve but part of a legacy of service. Her grandfather was in the Army and her dad served the Air Force. He retired after 22 years.
She enlisted during his final year in uniform.
His final duty station was Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, but his experiences in the Air Force led her to join the Army.
“The Air Force was very boring in the sense that their rules are a lot more tailored to not having a personality,” she said. “ It is very much how people feel about you. My dad retired as a tech sergeant because, at his last duty station, he wasn’t sucking up hard enough to be noticed.”
The Army’s culture and promotion system was a better fit for her personality. “Promotions in the Army are based on your body of work and your potential to make it to the next grade, and not how people feel about you,” she said.
Granville says some of her best leaders weren't the types of people she’d hang out with, but despite that, she would and has trusted them with her life.
“They are scary people, but when it came to being that first sergeant or that sergeant major. Yes, I would follow them into the gates of hell because I know they would do what they’re supposed to do in that position,” she said.
Although growing up in a military family, Granville had misconceptions before joining. She believed that she was going to have to “work harder and be “three times as good” at her job as her male counterparts because she was a female.
She now thinks all Soldiers, regardless of background, have an opportunity to have a successful Army career, as long as they don’t self-sabotage.
“I’ve learned that if you want to achieve and want to get somewhere, you can,” she said. “If you have a question or you feel like you are behind your peers or not as informed. Don’t be afraid to ask,” she said.
Granville recommends Soldiers seek information and continue to ask questions until they get an answer. She says many Soldiers stop seeking information after they try with one person and fail to get a satisfactory answer.
“That’s a form of self-sabotage,” she said. “I hate to sound old,” Granville said, “but this generation coming in is very lazy and entitled, and think, if you aren’t giving it to me, you are keeping it from me. No. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive it.”
She reaches 18 years of service this September but warns she doesn't have plans to retire anytime soon. She enjoys the opportunities that come with serving and warns she’s going to be one of the Soldiers the Army will have to force into retirement.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Granville laughed. “ I’m going to be one of those people who they have to put out.”