HM2 Erica Graf recently returned from combat operations in Uruzgan Province Afghanistan. This deployment culminated her 9 years in the military, which began November 25, 2002.
Upon entrance to the military Erica completed boot camp and basic corpsman school in Great Lakes, Illinois. A fond memory of Erica’s was the day she was given her first duty assignment to Marine Corps base Twentynine Palms California. Under the false impression given by her former instructors at Corpsman school she drove through the Mojave desert waiting for palm trees and instead pulled up to Twenynine Palms while tumble weeds rolled down
While stationed in Twentynine Palms, Erica worked at the Naval Hospital tending to the injured and sick on a multiservice ward and emergency room. There she culminated her skills by becoming responsible for the care of urgent patients imparting triage, cardiac monitoring, intravenous therapy, medication administration, suturing and the transportation of the sick and injured. A year into her first duty station she volunteered for a 6-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay Cuba. At this duty station Erica provided emergent and routine medical care for a population of over 600 detainees and operated as a clinic manager, overseeing the weighing and nourishment of the detainee population.
In the summer of 2005, Erica went to an intensive 7 week fleet marine force-training course in Camp Pendleton California. There she learned combat tactics and combat medicine, which will later serve her during her time with the United States Marines. Upon completion of this program Erica flew across the pacific to Okinawa Japan to be apart of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Within one week of arriving to Okinawa, Erica picked up an extended mission to South Korea. There she learned to become an excellent driver while avoiding Korean’s who consider red lights to be just a guideline. Upon return to Okinawa from this mission Erica was then transferred to the Special Operations Training Group. With her skill level, Erica became a coordinator and instructor conducting special tactical combat casualty care training, exercises and evaluation in support of Marines, Sailors and foreign military for special operations. Traveling extensively with reconnaissance marines, Erica was able to see many parts of the Pacific. The most important of these missions included training of the Filipino military in their fighting against the Abu Sayyaf
By the end of 2007, Erica’s five-year active duty commitment to the military ended. Arriving to her native Colorado she attended school at the University of Colorado where she received her B.A. in Anthropology and became a drilling reservist.
In March 2010, Erica received a phone call that she would be returning to active duty to serve in Afghanistan. Erica was tasked with providing medical care to women and children in remote villages as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team. In January 2011 her return to Colorado came early with a medical evacuation out of the Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan and the long journey to a healthy recovery commenced.