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Force Master Chief
Force Master Chief
Command Master Chief April D. Merriman
Command Master Chief, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78
29 October 2020
A native of Bassett, Virginia, she enlisted in the Navy and departed for boot camp at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois, in December 1997. Following completion of recruit training, she reported to Hospital Corps “A” School. Upon graduation, she was assigned to Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan. She was advanced to Hospital Corpsman Third Class and subsequently assigned to Naval Medical Center, San Diego in September 2000.
During this tour, she volunteered to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). She was assigned to Naval Coastal Warfare Group-1 and assigned to Camp Al Shuayba, Kuwait and Umm Qasr, Iraq in 2003 during the initial invasion of Baghdad. During her deployment, she was advanced to Hospital Corpsman Second Class.
Upon return from deployment, she received orders to attend Field Medical Service School (FMSS), Camp Pendleton, California. After graduating FMSS, she reported to 1st Force Service Support Group, Camp Pendleton where she was assigned as the Health Service Support Element Assistant Leading Petty Officer. During her tour, she deployed in support of OIF two more times in 2004 and 2006 at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq. On the latter deployment, she was advanced to Hospital Corpsman First Class.
In March 2007, she returned to FMSS as an Instructor. There, she trained 2,800 enlisted and 151 Medical Department Officers to serve in the Marine Corps Operating Forces. After a successful tour at FMSS, she was assigned to I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), as the Leading Petty Officer of 9th Communication Battalion, in Camp Pendleton. In 2011, she was selected to Chief Petty Officer and then assigned to the I MEF Headquarters Group (MHG), where she deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
During this time, she was the Leading Chief Petty Officer and Senior Medical Department Representative for I MHG and its seven subordinate units where she led 56 Sailors in the RC(SW) area of operations. She planned, coordinated and executed medical operations of 237 joint combat missions, impacting 30,000 U.S and Coalition Forces and provided oversight to six mentoring teams in the health care development of Afghan Forces.
Upon return from deployment, she was immediately assigned to attend Recruit Division Commander C-School at Great Lakes, Illinois, where she graduated top of her class. Here, she was selected to Senior Chief Petty Officer. After this tour, she was assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan and was assigned as the Force Surgeon’s Senior Enlisted Advisor and Deputy Korea Medical Planner, having participated in numerous missions and key leader engagements. In 2018, she was selected into the Command Senior Chief program and subsequently selected to Master Chief Petty Officer where she served as the Senior Enlisted Leader for the Directorate for Administration at U.S. Naval Hospital Naples.
Her personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal (3), Navy Achievement Medal (7), Good Conduct Medal (6), National Defense Medal (1), and various campaign medals and ribbons. She is a qualified Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist and Master Training Specialist. She is an Honor Graduate of Senior Enlisted Academy Class 191 (Khaki) and a graduate of CMC/COB Course 206. She also holds an Associate of Science with Vincennes University and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree with Thomas Edison State University.
HSM-78 Senior Enlisted Advisor