Robyn Murphy, Coast Guard Veteran

Flight Nurse, REACH Air Medical Services

Robyn Murphy joined the United States Coast Guard when she was 17 years old and served for four years as a Supply Officer. She was drawn to this branch because she liked the idea of defending her country on and within its borders. As her term of service was ending, she gave birth to her daughter and decided to return to civilian life and raise her family.

Robyn missed the camaraderie, accountability and the mission inherent in military service. She found that again when, three years ago, she joined REACH Air Medical Services in Redding, California. There, she serves her community as a Flight Nurse, where she has conquered her fear of heights to provide care at a moment’s notice. She credits the military for preparing her for her civilian role.

“The military taught me perseverance and pride, and instilled in me a willingness to help others,” said Murphy. “I draw on all of that as a Flight Nurse on a rotor-wing aircraft that responds to scene calls and healthcare facilities in our local area.”

Countries Visited

While Murphy’s main goal in joining the Coast Guard was to serve her country domestically, she still had the opportunity to visit the United States Virgin Islands and the Bahamas in the course of her duties.

Rank Achieved

Murphy attained the rank of Coast Guard Petty Officer, Second Class, a non-commissioned officer equivalent to the rank of sergeant in the Army and Marine Corps, and staff sergeant in the Air Force. Petty Officers serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders. Unlike the sailors below them, there is no such thing as an "undesignated petty officer". Every Petty Officer has both a rate (rank) and rating (job).

Memorable REACH Air Medical Services Experience

One call that truly sticks out to Murphy was a scene call in the area of Covelo, California. Her partner, the pilot, and she hiked a couple hours to reach a single-vehicle rollover in very steep mountainous terrain in the middle of the night.

They were the only responders for hours and spent the night there, taking care of the single-occupant patient. The following morning, they were able to get the patient hoisted out, along with the team, and to the closest trauma center. 

“It was not only physically, but also mentally taxing on our bodies,” said Murphy. “Knowing this patient depended for hours on us and our limited resources to keep him alive escalated the level of an already stressful situation.