BDF: Ladies in Military Leadership

Sub-lieutenant (SLt) Karen Carvahlo was born on 23 July 1978 and attended the Pine Primary School before transitioning to the Garrison Secondary School. The proud mother of two, enlisted in the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) on 17 April 1999 and has served selflessly for the past twenty-one years after her posting to the Barbados Coast Guard (BCG), becoming its first female recruit.

SLt Carvahlo is the holder of a Bachelors in Psychology with Honours, an associate degree in Psychology and a certificate in Management specializing in Human Resources. During her military career, she has attained the coveted enlisted rank of Chief Petty Officer before receiving the Queen’s Commission in 2018. SLt Carvalho performs her secondary duty as Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the country’s first female Prime Minister, the honourable Mia A. Mottley, Q.C, M.P. Karen sees this opportunity as extra-ordinary and she is pleasantly overwhelmed whenever she attends military ceremonial functions as ADC.

She has performed various roles such as; Administrative Assistant, Engineering Clerk, Small Boat Flotilla (SBF) Coxswain, BCG Operation Centre Watch-keeper, BCG Adjutant Assistant and is currently posted as BCG Adjutant. She has successfully completed several courses locally, regionally and internationally. Courses such as the VIP Close Protection, Courts Prosecutors’ Course, Basic Coxswains Course, Drill Instructors Course, Radio Operator’s course in Trinidad, the International Tactical Communications and International Maritime Officers Course both in the USA.

SLt Karen Carvalho urges all females who are interested in joining the BDF, “to come with an open mind, prepare to put in maximum effort, see yourself as a member of a team and work towards the motto which says a Symbol of Excellence.”

Her current goals are to one day serve as the Force Adjutant and to be afforded the unique opportunity to work with the United Nations (U.N)
We salute you ma’am!!!

Barbados Defence Force

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