VADM Carol M. graduated from Purdue University in May 1977, and was commissioned as an ensign through NROTC. One of the first women selected for sea duty, VADM Pottenger served as a division officer, department head and executive officer on a range of repair and combat support ships.
VADM Pottenger assumed command of USS Shasta (AE 33) in 1996, and of USS Bridge (AOE 10) in 2001; completing several deployments and awarded the Battle E and the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy.
Shore tours encompassed various afloat staff and Headquarters assignments and at USNA as a company officer. During several tours in the Pentagon, VADM Pottenger served as Executive Assistant, including for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.
Upon selection to flag rank in 2005, VADM Pottenger established a new Type Commander for 40 combat logistics and special mission ships. In 2006 she became the first female to command a strike group - Expeditionary Strike Group 7 / CTF 76. In 2008, she became the third Commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command as a force provider of 40,000 Active and Reserve Sailors.
In her final three years, VADM Pottenger served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Capability Development at NATO Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. She retired in May 2013. Establishing her own consulting practice in 2014, VADM Pottenger also serves on several boards for private corporations and non-profits.
In May 2007, VADM Pottenger received an honorary PhD from Purdue University. Personal military awards include the Defense and Navy Distinguished Service Medals; several Legions of Merit and other awards; and the Order of St. George presented by Bulgaria.