FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) – An Army reservist and mother of two is the latest woman to pass the rigorous Army Ranger Assessment Course, following the steps of the first two women to do so this summer.
Major Lisa Peplinski Jaster, 37, passed the third and final phase, the swamp phase, and will now earn her Ranger tab at graduation on Oct. 16 at Victory Pond on Fort Benning. Jaster is the only woman to graduate as a part of Ranger School Class 10-15, along with 87 men who also successfully made it through the third phase.
The class started off with 19 women and 381 men on April 20, 2015. Jaster, like so many other men and women attempting the Army's toughest course, had to recycle phases during the process. Jaster spent 180 days on the course.
According to the U.S. Army Rangers information website, approximately 34 percent of students recycle at least one phase of Ranger School, with 61 percent of recycles are due to patrols.
Jaster, an avid CrossFit athlete, currently lives in the Houston-area. The West Point Class of 2000 alumna also earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 2004, according to her LinkedIn profile. She became a major in the U.S. Army as a reservist in 2014.
Maj. Jaster is the third woman to pass the course since the U.S. Army integrated the course to include women. Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, of Orange, CT, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, of Copperas Cove, TX are the first two women to successfully complete Army Ranger school.
On Sept. 2, it was announced that the elite squad, the 75th Ranger Regiment, is open to all persons regardless of their sex.
But the integration has not come without controversy. Representative Steve Russell (R-OK) sent a letter to outgoing Secretary of the Army John McHugh on Sept. 15. The information request from Rep. Russell inquires if the first two women to successfully complete the Ranger assessment course – Griest and Haver – were given special treatment.
Rep. Russell has a military background of his own: according to the congressional website's biography, Russell was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army to begin his 21-year military career, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Russell is also a graduate of Army Ranger School as a member of Class 11-87, and commanded battalions as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His inquiry came following speculation that Griest and Haver were given special treatment through their time in Ranger school. Something the U.S. Army and Fort Benning have loudly denied.
But, a group of women West Point alumns fired back at Rep. Russell, demanding to see his performance records.
It even forced General Scott Miller to address internet speculation of special treatment of the women and other gossip at the graduation on Aug. 21. Fort Benning's social media pages were also inundated with doubters before Haver and Griest's graduations, but were silenced.
"Ladies and gentlemen, [Ranger Assessment Phase] week has not changed. Standards remain the same," Miller said. "The five-mile run is still five miles. The 12-mile march is still 12 miles. The required weight of the students' rucksacks have stayed the same; the mountains of Dahlonega are still here, the swamps remain intact. There was no pressure from anyone above me to change standards."