51-Year-Old Mom Completes Army Basic Training
Sandra Coast Is More Than Twice the Age of the Average Army Reserve Recruit
You go, girl: 51-year-old mom Sandra Coast just graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, making her one of the oldest people ever to begin an Army career.
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"Everybody in the world thinks I am a total nutcase," Coast told the American Forces Press Services. "I just want to support our troops. I love all of them."
Coast was in the Navy from 1982 to 1993, but then became a civilian to raise her son, Jeff. When Jeff graduated from high school and joined the Marine Corp., Coast was inspired to re-enlist into the military herself, and her previous experience allowed her to join the Army Reserve even though she was past the age someone without prior service could join.
"I have a friend in the Navy that was emailing me from Afghanistan,” Coast said. “It's his third combat tour in seven years. I don't know, I can't explain it. I just had this overwhelming desire to give back to the military somehow. I was doing the same job day after day after day. I can't live my life that way. There is more to life than this, so I ended up in basic training."
And Coast made sacrifices to get back into the military. "Before the recruiters would even talk to me, I had to lose 30 pounds,” she said. “I went from sitting at home every night eating ice cream to exercising and watching what I ate. I also started getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning to exercise and tried to go to bed early at night. I knew I needed every advantage I could have to get through this."
Coast thrived in basic training though, coming in second during the physical fitness test in which people half her age were also participating.
"This has been very challenging,” Coast said. "It makes me realize that I can do all of this … I am 51 years old, and I can do this."