A Member of the Minnesota National Guard Explains Why She Serves

By Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper

Sabel Peterson, a first lieutenant in the Minnesota National Guard, has always been an active person who loves to work on teams and lead others. Sabel currently serves as the executive officer of the E Company, 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment. Additionally, she works as the state’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program’s officer in charge, assisting soldiers as they go through the deployment process and reintegration into their civilian communities following a deployment.

Sabel’s interest in the military started when she joined the Minnesota National Guard as an artillery cannon crewmember to help fund her higher education goals. She quickly found that the Guard was a great resource toward advancing future aspirations, joining the Reserve Officer Training Corps during college to pursue becoming a commissioned officer.

Photo credit DVIDS/Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper

Sabel Peterson, a first lieutenant in the Minnesota National Guard.

“My leaders have seen qualities in me that are effective in leading troops, so I’ve had a lot of fun doing that during my junior enlisted years,” said Sabel. “I’ve been a part of many great teams in my career so far. I love achieving a common goal and having fun doing so, and those around me usually like that too.”

During her career, Sabel has had many mentors and advocates who have seen potential in her and pushed her to apply herself in ways she might not have thought of herself. It’s directly because of them that she is where she is now. She proactively participates in special organizational groups that advocate for those serving alongside her in the Minnesota National Guard.

Throughout her military career, Sabel has been surrounded by mentors and advocates who pushed her to apply herself. | Photo credit DVIDS/Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper

I am part of the LGBTQIA+ community and attend as many LGBTQIA+ events with the Minnesota National Guard special emphasis councils as I can,” Sabel said.

The council creates a space where service members who are also part of the LGBTQIA+ community can feel comfortable expressing themselves in the workplace and educate others in the force who may need to be made aware of those serving in their ranks.

“It’s great that someone like me, in the rank that I’m at, can help create space for those under me and enable them to feel safe to express themselves in the workplace, knowing they have an advocate above them,” Sabel said. “Others should definitely participate! Special emphasis councils aren’t just for those who are part of a specific community – they’re also for those outside the communities that can help unite ‘insiders and outsiders’ in any group.”

Sabel has completed extensive military training, but a recent mission in Africa is one of her best experiences.

“In 2019, I was fortunate enough to go on a diplomatic mission to Morocco with the Army, spending a week at the Royal Military Academy and two more weeks across the country learning about the variety of cultures found in Morocco,” she said.

Recently, she completed the state’s Unit Public Affairs Representative course, which trains service members to help tell the stories of their team members.

Photo credit DVIDS/Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper

Sabel serves as the reintegration officer in charge for the Minnesota National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters.

“That course was great exposure to public relations, which I love,” said Sabel. “I love telling stories, and it’s great that I can do so and bring my civilian career and education to the Minnesota National Guard.”

Looking to the future, Sabel plans to continue progressing in her military career one weekend a month while returning to her civilian career, working in marketing in the entertainment industry, producing events and shoots in Los Angeles.

Sabel has some advice for those thinking about joining the military.

“The Minnesota National Guard can be a great resource for those looking to push themselves and see what they can do, all while earning great benefits that will assist many different facets of your life,” said Sabel. “There’s a spot for everybody in the Minnesota National Guard and many career options – we don’t just shoot guns and throw grenades!”

-This story was originally published on DVIDShub.net. It has been edited for USO.org.

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