Rear Adm. Mary Riggs graduated magna cum laude from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She practiced in a variety of critical care settings including coronary care, intensive care, shock trauma and post-surgical open heart. She received master degrees in both physiology and biophysics from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Riggs was directly commissioned into the Navy Reserve. In 1990, she was recalled to active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm. She subsequently re-affiliated as a selected reservist and served in a number of leadership roles supporting clinical units. In 2005, she served on a woman’s board, bringing to light various gender related issues in the military setting. In 2007, she served with MedFlag 2007 in Gabon, Africa, and also served as the specialty leader for nursing research. In 2008 she served as executive officer, Operational Health Support Unit (OHSU) Portsmouth, she managed over 600 reserve component personnel in over 16 detachments.
Riggs served as commanding officer, OHSU Portsmouth from 2010-2012. During her command, Operation Commanding Force was instituted. This unit led the way in overall operational skills training, evolutions in weapons training, shipboard and disaster/triage training. Under her guidance, various unit members submitted eight research publications/posters. This unit also received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for its excellence in medical and military operations.
In October 2013, Riggs was recalled to active duty serving as the deputy director of Reserve Policy and Integration. She was instrumental in launching two additional Expeditionary Medical Facility units, achieving significant improvements in overall mission readiness in the areas of manpower, personnel, budgeting, planning, policy, mobilization, training, integration and operational support. She was hand-selected as lead for the Reserve Work- Stream Group in the development of the Electronic Health Record Program and pillar lead for Navy reserve medicine. January 2016 she was selected as the deputy chief of staff for Reserve Navy Medicine Education and Training Command.
In 2017, Riggs was assigned as commander, Reserve Component Expeditionary Medicine launching the first reserve unit deployment and initiating tiered readiness for these units. She is currently assigned as the director, Research and Development (J-9), Defense Health Agency, deputy director, Navy Nurse Corps, Deputy Command General, Medical Research and Material Command and Interim chief nurse executive, Defense Health Agency.
Riggs’ personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Naval Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy Achievement Medal (three awards) and various service medals and unit awards.