BUCKLEY SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Staff Sgt. Macey Cerny, a Cyber Systems operator from the 460th Mission Support Group Information Technology Flight, recently passed selection for the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training pipeline, with hopes to become one of the very few female SERE specialists in the Air Force.
The SERE selection course is a prerequisite course to the training pipeline to become a SERE specialist. The course covers a wide variety of things from classroom work and building shelters, to leadership skills and time management, and integrative rigorous physical training.
Just getting to the point of being selected has been a long journey for Cerny. She originally had interest in the special warfare career fields when enlisting, but decided on a cyber career for the job prospects on the outside. After a couple years in the Air Force, she felt the need for a major change.
“My best friend at the time handed me an old SERE pamphlet that they once looked into,” said Cerny. “I did a little more research, and I was sold.”
In January, she headed off to the 19-day selection course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. In a class of 52 candidates, she was one of the 12 selected, the only female, along with graduating as the class lead!
"I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last, but graduating as the only female in my group and as the Team Lead was a great accomplishment that I hope inspires other women to join the career field,” said Cerny.
Cerny spent over two years preparing physically and mentally for this journey, tirelessly following an intense workout routine along the way.
“As long as I’ve known Staff Sgt. Cerny, she has had a laser focus on getting accepted into the SERE program,” said Tech. Sgt. Jacob Redman, the 460th MSG ITF flight chief. “She dedicated countless hours getting into peak physical shape to prepare. During this time, she showed unparalleled motivation for her goals while still exhibiting top notch work ethic as NCO in charge of her shop -- truly the model U.S. Air Force NCO!
“Her Cadre also praised her amazing drive to accomplish her goals and overcome challenges by telling me, ‘She never gave up and always gave it her all!’” added Redman. “We’re proud of her and wish her all the best!”
Over the last decade, many restrictions previously placed on women in serving in combat roles and military occupational specialties have been removed.
“We’ve come a long way with the acceptance of women in special operations career fields,” said Cerny. “The barriers still present are more from a physical standpoint. I did well in training, but there was still a major difference between myself and the other men. I struggled more with rucking since the ruck was half of my body weight, and I’m fairly short with smaller strides. However, there were no excuses, and I still did it. Women who want to be in these career fields have to be able to meet the standards, which sometimes means we have work twice as hard."
Cerny is headed to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington to begin her pipeline training this April.
“I am looking forward to all the new skills I am going to learn,” stated Cerny. “I love the challenge of this career field. I am excited to push myself further than I have before both mentally and physically.
“My main motivation for the training to come is that quitting is not an option,” added Cerny. “I’ve waited two years for this opportunity, and I’m not going to give up on it no matter how difficult it gets.”
When asked what she would say to other women who aspire to join special operations career fields, Cerny said, “If you are on the fence, just go for it. There is nothing wrong with shooting your shot even if it doesn’t pan out. I had a great experience, and I was treated no differently just because I am a woman. We need more women [represented in these careers] in the Air Force, and there are many who are ready.”
Cerny said she plans to see how the training goes, follow her aptitude, and go from there. Some of her responsibilities will include preparing high risk-of-isolation service members for survival situations, as well as to provide direct support to personnel recovery missions through preparation, planning, execution, and adaptation.
“I want to travel as much as possible and maybe get a few deployments,” said Cerny. “I do plan on making this my career and doing 20 years if not more. My goal is to make Chief [Master Sergeant], and I’m not letting go of that goal anytime soon.”