When asked about being honored by the Business Journal, Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, said, “It’s strange I was named a Woman of Influence for suffering in the woods for six months.”
And while many say they “suffer” for their craft, Haver really has suffered. Last summer she, along with Capt. Kristen Griest, were the first women to graduate from the elite U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga. When not crawling through it, Haver flies high above the muck as an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter pilot stationed at Fort Carson. Earlier this year, a general on post said he’d always wanted to fly in an Apache, and it just so happened that Haver would be the one to give him a lift. After the flight, Haver’s battalion commander told the general that Haver was one of his top soldiers.
“Like any good battalion commander, he was talking me up, saying, ‘This is one of my best lieutenants.’ … I was all embarrassed.
“[The general] said, ‘Oh that’s great. Does she want to go to Ranger School?’
“No. Well, I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it,” was her reply.
The 2012 U.S. Military Academy graduate mulled it over — and then she did it.
“She not only represented Fort Carson extremely well, she represented all women who dream to do the extraordinary,” said Haver’s nominator, Col. Lori Robinson. “Here in the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, [Lt.] Haver … epitomizes what a soldier and officer should be. [Lt.] Haver is a woman of influence not just in the Army, but in our society as a whole. Her success is inspiring for other women who are presented with new opportunities in challenging schools and assignments.”
Marching hungry and sleep-deprived through a dark, cold swamp or forest, as a woman in Ranger School, Haver faced a gallery of naysayers. However, she felt pressure only from within.
“As humans we’re very risk-adverse, especially trying something that’s never been tried before. In my mind, I was scared to fail. It’s not that I haven’t tried hard things, but I was worried I would try this one thing and not be successful, however I’d defined [success] for myself. … I had not dived into something I thought would push me to my physical limits. I did it out of curiosity and fear.”
Haver said she didn’t think much about how her accomplishment could define women’s evolving roles in the military.
“I didn’t think about what it would do for women or that I was breaking any type of barrier. But I hope, potentially, we opened that path for someone else.”
She shared her personal mission statement: “I will constantly push myself to achieve challenging personal and professional goals, without the fear of failure, in order to set a good example for those around me.”
Haver said her proudest professional achievement was being accepted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and her proudest personal achievement was qualifying for the Boston Marathon this year. She was unable to race, however, because she had to leave for Georgia.
“You have to qualify. You can’t just show up and run the Boston,” she said. “I was very proud [to qualify]. I didn’t grow up saying I wanted to go to Ranger School. I grew up saying I wanted to run the Boston Marathon.”
— Bryan Grossman