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Latest Female to Graduate Ranger School Is 37-Year-Old Mother of Two

Maj. Lisa A. Jaster, 37, carries a fellow soldier during the Darby Queen obstacle course at Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga., April 26, 2015. (U.S. Army)
Maj. Lisa A. Jaster, 37, carries a fellow soldier during the Darby Queen obstacle course at Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga., April 26, 2015. (U.S. Army)

The last remaining female soldier of the original group of 19 women who tried out for Army Ranger School in April will graduate from the punishing infantry leadership course.

Maj. Lisa A. Jaster, a combat engineer with the U.S. Army Reserve, is 37 and a mother of two children. The average age of a student in Ranger School is 23 years old, according to Army officials.

She will earn the coveted Ranger Tab along with 87 men, according to an Oct. 12 press release from the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The West Point graduate had to repeat all three phases of the two-month course. Jaster follows two of her Ranger School classmates -- Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, who earned their Tabs in an Aug. 21 in a historic ceremony at Fort Benning.

When Jaster graduates on Oct. 16, she will have spent 180 days in the course, the release states.

Over the past two years, only about 40 percent of men successfully completed the course. 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, which runs the program.

"The Ranger Course is a 62-day course on leadership and small unit tactics that pushes Ranger students to their mental and physical limits by forcing them to operate on minimal food and sleep," according to the release.

Following the accomplishments of Griest and Haver, the Pentagon announced in early September that qualified troops regardless of gender will be allowed to attend all future classes of Ranger School.

The historic move comes at a time when Secretary of the Defense Ashton Carter is preparing to decide whether to open direct-action combat jobs such as infantry to women. Under a 2013 directive from then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the military services must open all combat jobs to women by next year or explain why any must stay closed.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com

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Women in the Military Army Army Rangers Special Forces Special Operations Army Training Matthew Cox

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