Brother’s deployment gave her insight into challenges

Published 4:24 am Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pleasant Home’s Carlotta Blount knows just how hard it is for military families to stay in contact with their loved ones overseas.

When Blount’s brother went overseas to serve in Iraq, phone conversations were rare, with poor reception.

What little she could hear from her brother, he always complained about hard it was to establish communications.

Blount knew something had to be done, and with her master’s degree in computer science, she could make it happen.

“I never imagined I would be working as a civilian contractor for the military,” Blount said, “But it happened that way, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Since 2004, Blount has been a civilian contractor for the military.

“I feel like this is my way of giving back to our military,” Blount said.

Blount worked specifically with the U.S. Army and U.S. Marines as a senior network engineer.

She was attached to the 25th Signal Battalion, and spent most of her time establishing connections within new and old forward operating bases.

Afghanistan, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait are among the places Blount has been in her time a senior network engineer. In 14 years as a civilian contractor, she has seen it all.

“I never realized how little our soldiers really get,” Blount said, “But being overseas, living in tents, experiencing the extreme temperatures, I realized.”

Speaking to the Andalusia Civitan Club on Friday, Blount described continuous days in which bombs hit the installation she was on.

She recalled going off the installation and teaching the local women how to use feminine hygiene products.

She remembered how a chow hall blew up minutes after she left with her food, how a Humvee exploded in front of her.

No matter what, Blount was thankful for the opportunity she was given.

“My job is the greatest experience of my entire life, through it all,” Blount said, “If I could go back, I would still pick this as a career.”

Blount graduated from Pleasant Home High School in 1982.

She then went on to attend Auburn University, earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science. From there, Blount went on to attend the American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, earning her masters in computer science.

“To me, what it’s all about is giving to the soldiers. I’ve seen it first hand how they hardly receive mail, barely hear from their loved ones. The suicide rate is incredibly high. People can do something to help by going to a local Veterans Affairs Department and requesting a list of those deployed. From there, you can send soldiers care packages, letters, and just support them,” Blount said.

Blount is currently at home in Pleasant Home, but will be on military assignment again in the spring.

The Veterans Affairs Department’s number is 334-222-3218.