TMCC Veteran of the Month - Feb. 2009
Military Rank: HMC (Chief Hospital Corpsman)
Raised in Santa Rosa, California, Roberta Bickford decided that after high school graduation, and attending a semester at the local junior college, to explore career paths offered by the military. Bickford joined because of her interest in the emergency medicine field, travel, and tuition assistance for college.
Bickford enlisted in the United States Navy June 1974, serving on active duty through February 1981. After completing basic training in Orlando, Florida, she reported for training to Hospital Corps "A" school in Great Lakes, Illinois. Later she was stationed at Indian Head Naval Ordnance Station, Maryland and Barber's Point Naval Air Station, and Hawaii as a general duty Hospital Corpsman specializing in emergency/triage medicine. At her last active duty command she served as an anatomy and physiology instructor for three years at the Naval School of Health Sciences in San Diego, California.
She left active duty for three years to start a family and continue her college education receiving an associate of arts degree from Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California. She moved to Denver, Colorado where she joined the active reserve from January 1984 – March 1996. Her duties included serving as an instructor of military and medical topics and CPR and basic life support instructor. Bickford served as the command chief of the medical/dental unit responsible for liaison between the enlisted and officer ranks, professional development of enlisted members, and acting as the senior enlisted member of the unit. Her unit was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm, February 1991 divided between the hospital ships and the Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, California, responsible for patient care of wounded service members.
Bickford officially retired from the USN-R in July 2002 at the rank of Chief Hospital Corpsman. During her service she earned several wards including: the Navy Achievement Medal, Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, Good Conduct, National Defense Service Medal (2 awards).
Advice to veterans
My grandfather, father, uncle, husband, brothers-in-law, and son-in-law have served proudly in WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and Iraq as soldiers, sailors, and marines. By virtue of this legacy of service I acknowledge that certain concepts are absolute; honor, sacrifice, and camaraderie. Because of your military service you posses the skills necessary to be successful. Your challenge will be to incorporate that skill set to a different environment. Through leadership and mentoring, others will benefit by your example. The ability to lead is as valuable and crucial as any skill required for a successful career. I wish you fair winds and following seas!
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