Meet the third woman to ever graduate from the Army's elite Ranger School
Two months ago, we were celebrating when the United States Army graduated not one, but two women — Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25 — from its prestigious, elite Ranger School. In September, the Army opened the school up to women on a full-time basis. Now, just over a month later, the third female graduate from the school is making our hearts swell with girl-power pride. Congratulations to Maj. Lisa Jaster.
Students are forced to train with minimal food or sleep in a 62-day course that involves “49 pushups, 59 sit-ups, a 5-mile run in 40 minutes, six chin-ups, a swim test, a land navigation test, a 12-mile foot march in three hours, several obstacle courses, four days of military mountaineering, three parachute jumps, four air assaults on helicopters, and 27 days of mock combat patrols.” Jaster completed the course in 180 days — three times the minimum, but well within the range of that graduates finish.
Oh, and on top of that? Jaster — a higher-ranking officer in the Army Reserve, a mother of two, and an engineer who temporarily left a position with the Shell Oil Company to attend Ranger School, as the Washington Post notes — did all of it at age 37, 15 years after graduating from West Point in 2000. “I just think it’s phenomenal for her to do this at that age,” Terron Sims II, a former Army Captain who graduated from West Point with Jaster, told the Washington Post. “Forget gender. Her willingness to sacrifice at that age is just phenomenal and speaks a lot about her.”
The Ranger training was opened to women for the first time due to a 2013 Obama administration directive unblocking military positions to females. “A lot of doors can open for women if we go about it the right way,” Jaster posted on Facebook. “The right way includes being professional, thick skinned, and ensuring that we minimize any special treatment. I know that I am physically fit. I am mentally tough. I know that I have all the ingredients to be successful. I volunteered because I want to make sure the standards do remain high and that the women coming out at the far end of Ranger School will be respected for their accomplishments rather than being judged for making things easier.”
Though Jaster is only the third woman to graduate from the program, it’s been a short time since it was opened to both genders, and the numbers will only grow from there. “Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level,” Army Secretary John McHugh said in a statement following the graduation of Griest and Haver. “This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential. We owe soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they are qualified and capable.”
Lisa Jaster is a 37-year-old woman. She’s a mother, an engineer, and a higher officer in the Army Reserve. And now, she’s an Army Ranger. It just goes to show that woman can do anything they set their minds to. Congratulations, Lisa, our newest idol.
[Images via Twitter]