First National Guard female graduates Army’s Ranger School

Pathfinder students conduct a VIRS (verbally initiated release system) exam at Camp Dawson, West Virginia, on Sept. 20, 2017. Students successfully guide helicopters into a drop zone and signal for release using hand signals, radio communications and visual guides. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Mickey Miller)

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – West Virginia Army National Guard 1st Lt. Emily Lilly is scheduled to graduate from the U.S. Army’s Ranger School April 27, marking the first time a female Army National Guard Soldier has accomplished this feat.

Lilly is one of just more than a dozen women who have graduated from the U.S. Army’s premier infantry leadership school, which boasted a higher than 67 percent failure rate among attendees in 2017.

“The accomplishments of 1st Lt. Emily Lilly are a direct reflection of her drive and determination to achieve every goal she has set for herself,” said West Virginia’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer. “The West Virginia National Guard is an organization that prides itself on the opportunities for our Soldiers and Airmen to reach their fullest potential.

Gov. Jim Justice and all of our state leaders and members of the West Virginia National Guard are extremely proud of her achievement and look forward to her continued leadership and impact in West Virginia and the nation.”

As a platoon leader for Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment, Lilly was also the first woman in the Army National Guard to earn a combat military occupational specialty (MOS) as an Armor officer after those jobs were opened up to women.

Lilly is a resident of Beckely, West Virginia, and has served in the Army National Guard since 2014. She holds three Bachelor’s degrees from Virginia Tech in International Studies, Political Science and Classical Studies and formerly served as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Coordinator for the Joint Forces Headquarters, West Virginia National Guard.

By Capt. Holli Nelson

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