When you pass Spc. Naomi Raber in the halls of Lyster Army Health Clinic, at first glance you see just another Soldier in uniform.
For Raber, a medical laboratory technician assigned to Lyster Army Health Clinic, is not your typical Soldier working in a medical clinic. She’s a graduate of Army survival, evasion, resistance and escape training, a physically and mentally challenging school.
The SERE course is required for jobs, specialties, and assignments that have a significant or high risk of capture and exploitation such as combat aircrews, special operations forces, Army Special Forces and Rangers, and military attachés.
“When I first arrived at Fort Rucker, I heard about SERE school from multiple people and was immediately intrigued. It sounded terrifying, but I fought hard for the opportunity to attend the school,” remarked Raber.
The Army SERE program training curriculum consists of 21 consecutive days of phased training that provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to survive, evade, resist, and escape in all environments and potential captivity scenarios.
Raber continued to explain, “Because I volunteered for SERE as a lab tech, the flight students attending the school thought that I was slightly crazy at first. However, the ability to work as a team with Soldiers from all different ranks in a very stressful environment was incomparable to anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
Following SERE school, Raber remarked she felt ready and eager to make a difference in her unit. She has a greater appreciation for the opportunity female Soldiers have to participate and serve in all ranks and occupations in the military.
Before joining the Army, Raber from Peoria, Arizona, had always pushed the limits and challenged stereotypes. “I had numerous people tell me that I didn’t know how difficult the Army would be and that challenged me even more towards that goal.”
Raber’s future goal is to become a medic and deploy. “There have been people who have supported my drive immensely, but there have been an equal amount of people who have told me that my goals are unrealistic because I am a woman. However, one of the most amazing feelings is being able to exceed expectations and not just meet the standard, especially when people don’t expect you to succeed.”
Her advice to young women joining the military is to not let anyone tell you that you are not capable of something. “If you let the doubts of others fuel you to your goals, rather than discourage you, you will be a stronger woman and a stronger Soldier,” concluded Raber.