MAJ Kelly Ann Guerra is a first-generation Salvadoran born in Santa Ana, California. She enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on August 9, 2001. She attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, then completed the Health Care Specialist Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The fulfillment of her childhood dream continued in the Practical Nursing Course at Fort Lewis, Washington. Recognizing she was part of something much bigger than herself with endless opportunities, Kelly embarked on a career in military medicine.
She progressed to the rank of Staff Sergeant and was accepted into the Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP). She became the first in her family to achieve a college degree, earning her Master’s of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2010.
In 2015, she deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa. She provided medical training to African Forces deploying to Somalia, executed humanitarian medical events, and volunteered to teach Spanish to U.S. Servicemembers to increase diversity and advocate Hispanic culture.
In 2016, Kelly was assigned as an Army Medical Recruiter building the bench of Army Medicine by sharing the great opportunities that come with serving. Her successful journey was featured twice as a panelist at the Concordia University Irvine Latina Leadership Conferences in 2017 and 2019. In 2019, she completed the U.S. Army Flight Surgeon Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, earning her wings as an aviation physician assistant.
She received the 2020 U.S. Army Distinguished Military Service Award from LATINA Style Magazine for her achievements advocating for diversity and representing the Hispanic culture with dignity and pride.
She is currently assigned to Headquarters, First Army, as the Senior Corps Physician Assistant, supporting the Global Force Management Allocation Plan by sustaining the mobilization of over 125,000 Reserve Component Soldiers annually while overseeing 10 Brigade PAs. She continues to be a dedicated advocate of the PA profession as the Army PA social media lead since December 2020.
Her military awards and decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device, Flight Surgeon Badge, Army Recruiter Badge (Silver).
Acknowledgments: This biography was written by LTC Sharen Denson with the assistance of MAJ Kelly Guerra. It was submitted to the Society in September 2022. Photographs are courtesy of MAJ Guerra.
Disclaimer: The authors’ views do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.