March is Women’s History Month, and Warrior Foundation Freedom Station salutes the incredible women service members of the U.S. military! One of the most exceptional female warriors we’re privileged to know is Lt. Col. Mary Kate Flatley, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.), former Commanding Officer of Wounded Warrior Battalion-West. Below, she reflects on her personal journey and shares her thoughts on women in the military with us. “Serving in the Navy, and then the Marine Corps, brought definite challenges, yet greater rewards. It has truly been an altruistic experience and one that I will always remember with great pride. As a woman serving in the military for 35 years, I had the opportunity to witness much change. When I enlisted in 1985, women were not authorized to serve on combatant ships and were only authorized to serve on non-combatant ships in 1980. My very first duty station was aboard the USS Cape Cod (AD-43), homeported at 32nd St. in San Diego, California. I met the ship in Yokosuka, Japan and completed the deployment with her while visiting the liberty ports of Hong Kong, Korea, and the Philippines. Serving on the Cape Cod was a fantastic experience, and I made some wonderful friends. I remained on active duty for four years, completing two West Pacs and reaching the rank of EM2 after obtaining the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist designation as an EM3. Upon separating from active duty, I enlisted in the Navy Reserves and began my journey as a college student. After graduation, I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and began a career as a Marine Corps Officer. I accomplished every goal I set for myself as a Marine, and my greatest, most altruistic duty station was serving as Commanding Officer of Wounded Warrior Battalion-West. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to give back to our Wounded Warriors, Today, women are commanding aircraft carriers and Combat Arms Battalions, and serving on submarines and in Combat Arms MOSs. These changes are exciting! Yet there is much more work to be done. From my perspective, the young women serving today are making great strides and taking the initiative to make the experience of serving in the military even better for women. I can attest that every generation has done their part to pave the way for future generations of women service members. It was incredibly meaningful to be a female warrior, and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come.” - Lt. Col. Mary Kate Flatley, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.) Pictured (from left to right): 1stLt Jessica Hansen, 2ndLt Rachel Murphy, Lt. Col. Mary Kate Flatley, Capt Rebecca Carlson, and Maj Nicole Bastian.