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51-year-old finishes basic training at Fort Leonard Wood

Thursday, February 16, 2012 | 10:35 a.m. CST

FORT LEONARD WOOD — A 51-year-old woman has finished basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, becoming one of the oldest people to go through the 10 weeks of physical and tactical drills.

Sgt. Sandra Coast, of Holmes, Ohio, will graduate from the program Thursday, allowing her to serve with an Army Reserve unit.

Coast served in the Navy for 11 years before leaving in 1993 to raise her son. When her son joined the Marines, she decided to join the Army.

She shed 30 pounds to prepare for training. Despite being three times older than most of the other recruits, Coast had one of the highest physical fitness test scores in the company.

Her unit's first sergeant, John Byars, says Coast is "a prime example that age is just a number."


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