To say that Elliott Garber was made to do his job is an understatement. He describes himself as the kid who was always checking out the animal books from the library, begging his parents to let him have every imaginable exotic pet, and who even started his own backyard egg business during middle school. So it’s no surprise that today, Elliott is the Force Veterinarian at the Naval Special Warfare Command—a highly trained vet who provides medical care to animals across all branches of the military.
“One of the things I enjoy most about my job as a veterinarian in the military is that almost every day is different,” Elliott said. “One day I’ll be providing medical care for our Navy SEAL working dogs, and the next I’ll be flying out to one of many locations around the country to support training of our combat medics.”
Although he always wanted a career working with animals, joining the military wasn’t originally on his radar. During his first year of veterinary school, he learned about an appealing military scholarship option for healthcare students. “My role as a veterinarian in the Army has not always matched up 100 percent with every career goal or ambition, but it has been a very rewarding and challenging experience that has taught me a lot about myself and the world,” Elliott said. In his six years of service, he’s lived in Italy for three years and in Egypt for one year. He’s also traveled around the world, including a recent combat deployment to Iraq. He has received various military and academic awards during this time, including the Expert Field Medical Badge and membership in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.
In addition to his military position, Elliott is a published writer. He finished his first full-length novel in 2014 titled “The Chimera Sequence,” a science thriller he describes as “Michael Crichton meets Tom Clancy.” He also published a short story, “No Dog Left Behind,” about a military working dog in Afghanistan (available through Amazon) and runs a blog called “The Uncommon Veterinarian,” a resource for others in his field. The blog includes career opportunities, options for educational funding, and insightful conversations, including interviews with a variety of veterinarians who work in unconventional settings.
Elliott graduated from Tufts University with degrees in veterinary medicine (DVM), public health (MPH), and comparative biomedical sciences (MS). Before that, he spent four years studying biology, Spanish, and religious studies at the University of Virginia. Today, he lives in Coronado, California, with his wife, Becca, and young children, Lena and Gil. His siblings David ’02 and Eden ’97 are also SSSAS alumni.
Elliott shared that he will most likely transition off active duty once his current commitment is complete. “I’m looking forward to taking the next step in this uncommon veterinary career!”
Find Elliott’s “The Uncommon Veterinarian” blog at www.elliottgarber.com.