• The First 32: Arrived 35 years ago

  • What the 1980 RMC Commandant had to say

  • Remembering 14491 KAREN RITCHIE



The First 32 RMC Lady Cadets by Squadron,1980

Frigate 14481 Linda Newton 14423  Liz Dyson 14484 Jacquie Pothier 14390 Kathy Armstrong
2 14397 Chris Best 14433 Debbie Fowler 14396 Kathleen Beeman 14512 Cheryl de Bellefeuille
3 14451 Theresa Hutchings 14467 Joanne MacIsaac 14478 Theresa Murphy 14448 Becky Horn
4 14400 Sylvie Bonneau 14504 Brigitte Vachon 14412 Helen Davies 14491 Karen Ritchie
5 14444 Dorothy Hector 14487 Sue Raby 14510 Sue Wigg 14479 Sue Nadarozny
6 14460 Lorraine Kuzyk 14402 Charmaine Bulger 14501 Marie Thomson 14443 Kathy Haunts
7 14508 Sheila Walters 14418 Marnie Dunsmore 14477 Brigitte Muehlgassner 14411 Ann David
8 14394 Laura Beare 14407 Marie-Pier Cloutier 14419 Johanne Durand 14507 Julia Walsh


What 3173 Major-General (Ret’d) J.A. Stewart. RMC Commandant 1980-82 – had to say regarding the the first 32 lady cadets who entered RMC 30 August 1980.

“My first impression was that they represented a typical cross section of Canadian young women – apprehensive, of course, but keen, enthusiastic, intelligent and anxious to succeed.”

Excerpt from: Veritas magazine article July 2004.


Remembering 14491 KAREN  RITCHIE

Note (1): We had the privilege during the summer of 2005, to have a nice one-on-one conversation with Karen. The talk was very informal. Much of it covered her time as one of the ‘first 32’.  Some time later we posted an e-Veritas  article on her.   The title: Who Is It? One of the First 32.

1.    She was born in London, England. 

2.     She was with the first group of 32 ladies who marched through the RMC Arch, 30 Aug 1980.

3.     Her first memories of RMC were of being unloaded off buses in the dark in front of the dorms. There were fourth years everywhere yelling at the new arrivals to grab their bags and get into the dorms. It was total confusion and she remembers thinking it was worse than Basic Training.

4.    She spent her fair share of time running circles for punishment during “Rook Term”; an activity that she was convinced was designed to waste time during the valuable hours after study and before bedtime.

5.    Her saddest day at RMC was Graduation in 1984 when her original classmates left the College for good. The  happiest was on Convocation in 1985 when she finally received her degree.

6. She remained at RMC for the summer after graduation to work as a Professor’s Assistant in the Mech Eng Dept was a great summer, sailing on Wednesdays and writing a user manual for the new RMC mainframe computer.

7. “First Year was very difficult for the entire College. Media attention was high and a certain number of cadets were opposed to the introduction of female cadets.”

8. Overall, RMC was an incredible positive experience for her. Although she was glad to graduate and leave the milcol environment, she would love to return to RMC as DCadets or in another senior position.

9. She did Post-Graduate training in Virginia where she earned a Masters degree in Integrated Logistic Support.

10. She was promoted to her current rank of Colonel in June 2004.

Note (2): Karen Ritchie was killed in a car accident Oct.13, 2008 in Burlington, Ont. She was 45. Following our meeting in 2005 – we would communicate from time-to-time. She was always extremely interested in what was going on with cadets.

Really hard for me to believe that interview was ten years ago.