Rear Adm. Elaine Wagner grew up in southern Indiana and attended Butler University (Bachelor of Arts, 1976) and Indiana University School of Dentistry (Doctor of Dental Surgery, 1980). She completed her pediatric dentistry residency at Riley Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis in 1982. She was commissioned and reported to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California in December 1983.
In July 1990, Wagner reported as a department head in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. In 1995, Wagner became the junior assignment officer for the dental corps at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Annex, Washington, D.C., followed in 1998 as the pediatric dentistry department head at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School. After an overseas assignment in Okinawa, Japan, she returned to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery as the deputy chief of the Dental Corps.
She has served as clinic director, Branch Dental Clinic, Washington Navy Yard and director of Surgical Services and director of Women’s, Children’s and Community Health at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. Wagner’s next assignment was as the executive officer at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida, followed by her first tour as commanding officer, Naval Hospital Beaufort, South Carolina, in 2006. In 2008, she reported as commanding officer, Expeditionary Medical Facility Kuwait and in 2009 commanding officer of Naval Health Care New England. In August 2010, she assumed the duties as the director, Medical Resources Plans and Policy Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations code N931 and chief, Navy Dental Corps. From September 2011 to April 2014, she served as the commander of Navy Medicine East and Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, and as director of the Tidewater Enhanced Multi-Service Market. Wagner currently serves as deputy chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Wounded, Ill and Injured.
In July 1987, she became the pediatric dentistry department head at the 32nd Street Dental Clinic, San Diego.
Her military decorations and awards include Legion of Merit with three gold stars, Meritorious Service Medal with three gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars.