Last remaining woman in Army Ranger School, 37, likely to graduate
On Friday, a 37-year-old Army major with two children is likely to become the third woman ever to graduate from the Army's grueling Ranger School, according to three people with knowledge of her status, including a senior official.
Maj. Lisa Peplinski Jaster would join Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, as the only three women to graduate from the school, which is considered among the most difficult in the military. It was opened to women for the first time in April as part of the military's ongoing research on how female service members should be integrated into new jobs in the armed forces.
Griest and Haver graduated from the school on Aug. 21, making history as the first women to ever complete the course's requirements. Jaster was the only other woman among 19 who began the course with Griest and Haver to make it to the school's second phase in the mountains of northern Georgia, but she was held back from graduating earlier this year.
Jaster, who lives in the Houston area, is a member of the Army Reserve who opted to attempt Ranger School when the service opened it to women this year. She overcame a major obstacle by completing a patrolling test in the last few days, the senior official said. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because the results are not yet final.
"She still hasn't completed all of the requirements," the official said. "But what are her odds of graduating now? They're really, really good."
Jaster is a 2000 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and would be older than most graduates - male or female. She is a frequent participant in CrossFit training exercises and has competed in weightlifting competitions.
Ranger School is 61 days long if students pass each of three phases on the first try, but it is common for a service member to be held back or "recycle," if they show promise but fall short in a specific aspect of training. Jaster will graduate nearly six months after beginning the course.
Like Griest and Haver, Jaster moved on to the second phase of training in northern Georgia after recycling twice in the first phase at Fort Benning, Georgia, and being allowed to start over from the beginning a third time.
Griest and Haver completed the second Mountain Phase on their first try, but Jaster recycled once there, too. She moved forward to the third phase in the swamps on and around Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in August but recycled once there, too.
Army officials have said that remaining in training as long as Jaster has is uncommon but that it occasionally occurs among men, too.