MSG Erinn Watkins
Author. Speaker. Coach.
Master Sergeant Watkins, an accomplished Army Veteran with an exceptional military resume that spans 29 years, is one of the first women in the military to become an Army Pathfinder.
In 1995, MSG Watkins earned the Army Pathfinder Badge as a Specialist/E-4. She went to Army Flight School in 1997 and flew the TH-67, OH-58, and the UH-1H. She also helped test the cockpit of the RAH-66 Comanche Helicopter.
She was an original team member on both the 45th Civil Support Team (Administrative / Decontamination / Training NCO) in Smyrna, TN and the 21st Civil Support Team (Operations NCO / Hazard Modeler) at Fort Dix, NJ, and was directly responsible for the initial federal certification for operational performance (Exit Evaluation - EXEVAL) of both teams.
She was Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) of the first National Guard Bureau Operation Warrior Gauntlet, Army Warrior Training in the National Capital Region. She was the National Guard Liaison at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, NC.
She helped build, develop, and implement the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) used by the National Guard Bureau (NGB) to track Soldier and civilian data, process orders, manage movement, etc. which is still in use today. She earned five Foreign Parachutist Badges: Chilean Parachutist Badge, Honduran Military Airborne Badge, French Army Parachutist Badge, German Armed Forces Parachutist Badge, and the Royal Netherlands Parachute Badge.
While stationed at the National Guard Bureau, a colleague noticed she was depressed, using the term "high functioning depression". Based on the definition of high functioning depression, she noticed it didn't quite fit. She was never hopeless and she was never helpless. Once she broke out of her shell and started sharing her story, she found that it immediately resonated with all whom she speaks. She’s developed many principles throughout her military career that enabled her to handle any situation that came her way.
MSG Watkins joined the American Legion in November 2017 and in June 2018, was elected Adjutant of Post 202 in Fayetteville, NC. She was on the cover of the November 2018 issue of the Legion magazine. Currently she's a Veteran Mentor for the local Veterans Treatment Court. She spends her time soul line dancing and Chicago Steppin'. She's also a dance instructor. MSG Watkins retired in 2017, achieving the second highest enlisted rank in the Army. Her final duty station was five years at the US Army JFK Special Warfare Center & School at Fort Bragg, NC. She's is a 100% disabled Veteran with Major Depressive Disorder. She has one son, Eric, who's a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.