The last remaining female soldier of the original group of 19 women who tried out for Army Ranger School in April has graduated from the punishing infantry leadership course.
Maj. Lisa A. Jaster, a combat engineer with the U.S. Army Reserve, is the third woman to graduate from Army Ranger School.
While she isn’t the first woman to finish the punishing course, what makes her accomplishment so groundbreaking is that Jaster is 37 years old, and the mother of two. The average age of a student in Ranger School is 23 years old, according to Army officials.
Andrew Exum, a deputy assistant secretary of defense who previously served as a Ranger, also shared his amazement at Jaster’s accomplishment when he tweeted, “Forget the fact she’s a woman. I can’t believe a 37-year old graduated from Ranger School. I’m 37. I went when I was 22. 37 is oooooold.”
The West Point graduate had to repeat all three phases of the two-month course. Jaster spent 180 days in the course. While that is far longer than the minimum 61 days it takes, it is still within the acceptable timeframe for both male and female students.
Typically only 25 percent of Ranger School students graduate without having to repeat at least one phase of the grueling course, according to officials from the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade.
Jaster joined the Army in 2000 and served about seven years on active duty. Initially assigned to Fort Stewart with the 92nd Engineer Battalion, she deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in her first four years
Jaster, a high ranking officer in the Army Reserve, is an engineer who temporarily left her position with Shell Oil to tackle Ranger School. Her accomplishment follows two of her Ranger School classmates, Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, who received their Tabs Aug. 21st in a historic ceremony at Fort Benning.
Over the past two years, only about 40 percent of men successfully completed the course. The Pentagon has announced that qualified troops, regardless of gender, will be allowed to attend all future classes of Ranger School.