L-R: Kathleen Ables, Soroptimist Vice President Susan Roncone, and Chuck Ables.

At our November Program meeting at Wildwood Crossing in Vista we were honored to host guest speaker Kathleen Ables, a retired Marine Corps captain, who spoke to us about the challenges faced by herself and other women in the Marine Corps over her 20-year military career, which spanned 1967-1987.

We also welcomed Kathleen’s husband Chuck Ables, a Marine veteran with 28 years of service under his belt. Kathleen credits Chuck with contributing to her success as a female officer in the Marines. (Among his words of advice to her were: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”)

Ables was one of the first females to serve as a commanding officer in a predominantly male unit. During her 20 years of service, she was a trailblazer, using her influence to raise issues concerning women Marines. One example: she urged a change to a policy that excluded females from certain assignments and deployments, which denied them the operational experiences they needed to be competitive with their male peers. After Kathleen briefed a new incoming commander on the problem, that commander ended the policy then and there!

Kathleen Ables retired from the military in 1987 in order to raise the couple’s two daughters. Kathleen and Chuck now reside in Carlsbad, where they have both been active in local veteran’s associations.

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