Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Warrant Officer Class 1 Carlyn Dover wears many hats. She is currently the GDF most senior female enlisted noncommissioned officer (NCO), and serves as the Regimental Sergeant Major of Defence Headquarters and Women Army Corps.
To date, she has chalked up more than 26 years of outstanding service, starting on July 1, 1997, following her aunt’s advice that choosing a career path in the military would be the most important decisions she would ever make.
Warrant Officer Class 1 Dover completed the Basic Recruit Course, graduating as the best female. As she progressed in her career, she specialized in graphic design, filling an integral role at the then Public Relations and Education Department. Later on, her passion for children, and inspired by her two daughters, she joined the University of Guyana, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work.
Warrant Officer Class 1 Dover spoke with Diálogo about her professional experience.
Diálogo: You are the GDF most senior female NCO. What strikes you most about your military profession?
Guyana Defence Force Warrant Officer Class 1 Carlyn Dover, Regiment Sergeant Major, Defence Headquarters/Women Army Corps: I serve my country with diligence and pride. I serve the soldiers that are in my care or trust. Every career comes with its own challenges, but as a female soldier, you have to be confident, committed, and have a positive attitude. It is imperative for you to assert yourself and your male counterparts will give you respect. I am a leader and will continue to use my influence to empower the soldiers I command and give my best to the GDF at all times. I consider myself privileged to be a part of the Women’s Army Corps. So much has changed over the years and we, the members of the Corps, are not restricted and are encouraged to reach our highest potential, in everything we do.
Diálogo: Why did you decide to enroll in the military?
Warrant Officer Class 1 Dover: I decided to enroll in the GDF because I came from a family with a military background. As a teenager, I started thinking about serving my country and to do a great job, so, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I joined.
Diálogo: During your 26 plus years of military life, how have you seen women’s advances in the GDF?
Warrant Officer Class 1 Dover: Twenty-six years ago, the GDF was different; only a few women were a part of the organization and were restricted to clerical and administrative duties. However, over the last years, the GDF has grown and I have seen females in all units playing some major roles.
Diálogo: What would you like to say about the professionalization of NCOs in your country?
Warrant Officer Class 1 Dover: We live in a closed society; as a result, women are not yet comfortable in some roles. However, we have female NCOs with high standards of professionalism and as passionate about their development.
Diálogo: What do you like most about your profession?
Warrant Officer Class 1 Dover: Service and to report to my senior officers that a task or a mission has been completed successfully. In addition, I feel very confident to give advice to my soldiers when they reach out to me.
Diálogo: Do you recall a particular challenge you may have faced during your military career?
Warrant Officer Class 1 Dover: Yes, with my duties in the military as the backbone of the force and middle management, there were times when it was difficult to be part of the military organization as a mother and as a woman. However, once you’re focused, you are able to overcome amazing things and have a great support system.
Diálogo: What is your advice for young people who want to join the military?
Warrant Officer Class 1 Dover: You will never regret joining the military because there are many amazing opportunities and benefits for your future. Beside scholarships, medical services, overseas courses, and other activities, you will also have the opportunity to explore your beautiful country and meet people of all walks of life. I think this profession offers the most unique experiences an individual can have — all in one place.