Pam Raison always believed she was bound for a life less ordinary.
The Werribee resident was among the first four women to graduate from the army reserves in Melbourne in 1981.
She served the best part of 28 years in the military as a teacher.
Ms Raison will be among hundreds of service men and women at the Werribee RSL sub-branch Anzac Day dawn service on Thursday.
“I knew I wanted to join the military when I was young,” Ms Raison said. “I was always an outdoors kid and I told my mother, ‘I want to be in the army when I grow up’.”
Life lead Ms Raison into secondary teaching for six years before she decided to follow her heart and join the military at 25.
“I couldn’t see myself sitting at a desk for the rest of my life,” she said. “I happened to come across the army reserves doing officer training.
“It was the very first course where the women did exactly the same as the blokes did.
“There were four females that graduated and 30 fellas in 1981.
“We knew we had to do 120 per cent. You couldn’t use feminism as an excuse for anything.
“Physically we had to work harder because we were smaller.
“Nobody tried to pander to us because we were women … we were all equal.”
She started out as an intelligence officer at an artillery regiment in Brisbane, spent a year in Perth as a reservist and eventually weaved her passion for education into her army career five years later.
Ms Raison said no two days were the same throughout her career – from teaching English and mathematics to troops posted across the globe to studying Indonesian and French abroad.
“I met a lot of interesting people,” she said.
“One of the bonuses of teaching those courses was that everyone was thrown into one room and I got to know them as people and not as their nationality.
“Watching them interact was one of the highlights. That’s why I stayed in that long.”
Ms Raison retired from the military in 2008.
An Anzac Day dawn service will be held on April 25, from 6.30am at the Werribee cenotaph at the corner of Station Place and Watton Street, Werribee.
Watton Street, between Bridge Street and Comben Drive, will be closed from 4am-7.30am. The Station Place roadway and parking areas will be closed for the same period.