In a male dominated, sea intensive rating, she continued to become an expert in her career field and serve a role model for both male and female Sailors.
At one time, she and her husband were a dual-military couple with three small children. Eventually, he left the Navy to take care of their now four children so that she, a chief petty officer at the time, could concentrate on her career.
A year after putting on anchors she set her sights on a new goal, earning a commission as a limited duty officer.
“It was my A-OPS [Assistant Operations Officer] on board Bunker Hill who told me he didn’t see chief being my end goal,” said Karo. “He told me to consider putting in a package to get a commission.”
She did in fact put in a commissioning package and just like chief, Karo was selected first time up to join the 6122 Limited Duty Officer Surface Operations community. Her first assignment as an officer was at LCSRON 1 where she assumed the duties of N3 Division Officer and Surface Warfare Mission Package Liaison Officer.
Karo said the three things she believes contribute to her personal success are Faith, family (both blood and Navy), and ambition.
“I believe God made all this possible,” said Karo. “When I wanted to go left, God guided me right. My family support has given me the extra motivation I needed to get through the rough times, especially the times at sea away from my kids.”
When it comes to ambition, it would be hard to find anyone who loves what they do in the Navy more than Karo.
“I love to work on new qualifications and goals,” said Karo. “It’s a personal satisfaction to scratch off a goal from my list.”
Karo said she could not stress enough the importance of the support she receives from her husband on a daily basis.
“If he wasn’t taking care of our family well while I was out to sea, I wouldn’t have been able to focus and complete my qualifications,” said Karo. “He is the real MVP and the rock of our family because when I deploy he takes care of our kids.”
Karo said her advice for young Sailors wanting to succeed in the Navy is simple.
“Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared of the unknown,” said Karo, who plans on going to a destroyer for her next assignment. “Don’t be scared to work out of your comfort zone.”
The Capt. Joy Bright Hancock Leadership Award, established in 1987, honors Navy women with visionary leadership whose ideals and dedication foster a positive working environment while reinforcing and furthering the integration of women into the Navy.