A group of African American women (members of the "Smart Set Club") pose on a staircase
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Scurlock Studio Records, ca. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Her story is your story.

Lisa Jaster in her military uniform
I shed my camouflage.
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Lisa Jaster

Major in the U.S. Army Reserve, Engineer

SIX DAYS into Ranger School, I was exhausted. Every second of every day I was on my feet, running through woods or swamps. The Army’s Ranger School is one of the toughest courses in the military.

I was in the first class that allowed women. But, I was like a unicorn. I looked different, sounded funny and was older — a mother. When other soldiers saw me, they didn’t know how to react.

I kept thinking about young women launching their careers. I needed to set the example. Three of us made it through.

Lisa Jaster’s uniform is at the Smithsonian. It will be used to tell her story and other women’s stories of bravery and perseverance.

Credits

Photo: Hill, Glynn A., “Ranger School Grad Wanted to Prove that Women Aren’t So Weak,”  Houston Chronicle, September 17, 2016 © Houston Chronicle. PHOTO YI-CHIN LEE

Content: Laura Hambleton interview with Lisa Jaster, 2017, Smithsonian

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The American Women’s History Initiative will amplify women’s voices to honor the past, inform the present and inspire the future.

Bella Abzug (in hat), Betty Freidan (right, in trench coat) and Billie Jean King (far right) accompany torch relay runners into Houston, 1977. Unknown photographer; National Archives
About the image
Bella Abzug (in hat), Betty Freidan (right, in trench coat) and Billie Jean King (far right) accompany torch relay runners into Houston, 1977. Unknown photographer; National Archives.