Col. Lisa Lamb became Fort Hunter Liggett’s new Garrison Commander June 30, 2021, and her eyes light up when she talks about her passions: people, and the Army.
Although Lamb has been a world traveler thanks to the military, Pittsburgh is still her home. Even though nobody in her family had been in the service, she joined the Air Force right out of high school to get the GI Bill for college.
“My dad was totally against it at first,” she said. He said, “‘No woman joins the military. That’s nuts!’” She smiled at the memory. “Coming from Pittsburgh, there are no military bases and it’s very hard to find anyone there who’s serving in the military, especially in the late ‘80s when I went in. But now, my dad is the proudest papa there is. He has followed me everywhere, and he has supported me with every single assignment, and is probably my biggest cheerleader.”
She intended for military life to be behind her once she started college, but that changed after a visit with an ROTC major. “He noticed that I was involved in a number of different activities,” said Lamb. He said, ‘You seem like a leader. You should become an Army officer.’” He promised (as recruiters do) she could return to the Air Force as an officer, but once she commissioned she fell in love with the service’s oldest branch. “There’s just so much more camaraderie, I found, in the Army,” she said.
Soon enough, she was in the same position as the officer who recruited her. “My most memorable assignment was teaching ROTC at the University of Michigan. So far that has been THE best assignment,” she said. “It’s mostly because I had the opportunity to coach, teach and mentor young people. Just working with college students who are aspirational, and they’re looking up to you of what right looks like, or how they can emulate the things you’re doing. They’re so ready and eager to get out there and lead. These young people will be the next platoon leaders for our Soldiers. They’re going to take care of America’s sons and daughters. It was just phenomenal to work with them, and I stay in touch with most of my students to this day. A lot of them are now captains and majors and they’re doing great things.”
In her free time she likes to hike and bicycle, and she busted a myth about electric bikes, which she and her husband purchased while in Germany. “A lot of people think with e-bikes you don’t have to pedal, that it’s like a motorcycle or a moped. You actually still have to work hard, but the more you pedal, the more you get a little booster to your ride. It’s great for going up hills or hitting the trails.”
One of her favorite hikes was up Koko Head in Hawaii every Friday. “You get to the top and it’s so worth the work to look out and see the entire island and the ocean. Breathtaking!” Her husband Patrick wants them to start backpacking overnight, and they hope to do portions of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Her youngest daughter, a varsity swimmer, is the only one of her four girls interested in a military career, preferably the Coast Guard. “She really loves environmental science and marine life,” said Lamb.
The newest member of their family, Alvin, has yet to join them. Alvin is a fully-groomed white standard poodle, currently in Albuquerque with her husband. He came to them as a German-bred pup in December 2019 right before the pandemic, and both will soon be joining her as she settles in.
What does the new garrison commander want people to know about her? “I am very focused on community,” she said. “Coming out of COVID, we need to focus more on gathering as a community, doing more for our community, and taking care of people. That’s what I’m passionate about.”