Navy Flag Officer Biography

Rear Admiral Karen Flaherty

Deputy Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery/Deputy
Surgeon General of the Navy

Rear Admiral Karen Flaherty


Rear Admiral Flaherty assumed duties as the deputy surgeon general of Navy Medicine at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery as of Aug. 6, 2010. Prior to these duties Flaherty served as the 22nd director of the Nurse Corps as well as the deputy chief, Wounded, Ill, and Injured at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. 

Flaherty is a native of Winsted, Connecticut, and joined the United States Navy as a Nurse Corps candidate in July 1973. Upon graduation from Skidmore College, she attended Officer Indoctrination School in Newport, R.I., in August 1974.

Flaherty’s first assignment was Quantico Naval Hospital where she served as a staff nurse and charge nurse on the surgical ward, orthopedic ward, and the maximum care unit. Upon transfer to the Philadelphia Naval Medical Center in 1977, she assumed the duties as charge nurse for the general surgery unit and the obstetric and gynecology clinic. Flaherty reported for duty as the Officer Programs officer for Naval Recruiting Command, Navy Recruiting District New Jersey in 1979. She transitioned to the Naval Reserve in 1982.  

Flaherty’s subsequent Reserve tours included assignments to numerous naval hospitals and fleet hospital commands. In her distinguished career she has served as commanding officer Fleet Hospital Fort Dix, executive officer, director of Nursing Services, officer in charge, and training officer. In February 1991, she was recalled to serve with Fleet Hospital 15, Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. She served as commanding officer OPNAV 093 prior to assuming flag duties as the deputy commander Force Integration National Capital Area and the deputy chief for Health Care Operations at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

Flaherty received her Masters of Science from the University of Pennsylvania and has held senior executive leadership positions at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Flaherty is authorized to wear the Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation (two awards), National Defense Service Medal (three awards), Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Liberation Medals.


Updated: 8 November 2010