Erin Stevens, age 27, is a Captain in the US Army and serves with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska. She graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy in 2007 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Her first assignment was with the US Army Student Detachment while she spent her Mitchell year at the University College Dublin. At UCD, she studied Cultural Policy and Arts Management and completed an internship at the National Museum of Ireland, History and Decorative Arts.
After the completion of her degree at UCD, Erin was assigned to 2-5 Cavalry Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division based out of Fort Hood, Texas. Shortly thereafter, she was deployed to Eastern Baghdad, primarily Sadr City. While deployed, she served as the Battalion’s assistant intelligence officer and saw what she now calls “the little perspective” of the Iraq war, or the fight for a unit of 700 Soldiers to control a small piece of territory.
In the spring of 2010, Erin was assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Cavalry Division in Fort Wainwright, Alaska. She deployed with 1-25 SBCT to Afghanistan and served in both Zabul and Kandahar provinces where she saw “the big perspective”—the ability of a unit of 4500 Soldiers to make an impact on the overall level of security in a region while aiding in the development of Afghan National Security Forces and government. While in Kandahar, she was the Key Leader Engagement Manager and aide to the Brigade Commander. As the KLE manager, Erin assisted the commander as he worked closely with leaders of the Afghan Army and police, as well as district and provincial level government figures. It was Erin’s year in Ireland that prepared her best for this position. “We spent so much time on the road, traveling among district centers and police stations, interacting with Afghan generals and governors. I was in a Stryker as we drove down Panjwai district’s main road when it occurred to me—this is what we did in Ireland, minus the combat vehicles. We traveled around the country and figured out another culture. Once I had that moment of discovery, I became much less intimidated by the concept and that much better at my job.”
Erin currently resides in North Pole, Alaska (along with Santa Claus) with her husband Joshua. Their son, Henry, was born in October 2012 and is already asking when he can visit Ireland.