Marine rises above the rest

3 Apr 2009 | Cpl. Melissa Tugwell

Outstanding Marines are not hard to come by if you know where to look. Often, they excel in their job and volunteer in the community and always remain one step ahead of their peers.

Sgt. Kathleen Arsenault, one such Marine, was chosen as the San Diego Council of the Navy League’s Junior Enlisted Woman of the Year at a ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in Mission Valley March 24.

Women Marines from all over Southern California were nominated, but it was Arsenault who took home the award.

She kept actively involved in many activities throughout the her high school years at Sunapee High School in Sunapee, N.H.  Soccer and softball fueled her competitive drive while cheerleading kept her spirits high.  Though often quiet and somewhat reserved, she also participated in spring and fall plays.

Her hunger for competition made it an easy decision to join the Marine Corps.

“Every one knows the Marine Corps is the most difficult branch and I wanted a challenge,” said Arsenault.

Since joining the Corps four years ago, the 26-year-old has excelled as a maintenance controller for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 and managed her busy lifestyle by staying involved in different activities such as holding the position of president of the Single Marine Program for a year.

“She’s the smartest person in this shop,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jason Cohen, HMH-462 staff noncommissioned officer in charge of maintenance control.

When she arrived the shop, she quickly learned every aspect of her new job and proved she could handle added responsibilities, explained Cohen.

“Normally, we would constantly check on beginners in her position, but she would say ‘I got it,’” said Cohen. “And she had it.”

The key to her intelligence lies with her thorough reading and research, explained Cohen.

“She researches everything and finds out every aspect of her job that she’s supposed to do and goes beyond it,” said Cohen.

She fills the shoes of a billet normally held by a SNCO while supervising maintenance on the helicopters.

“She has the training and possesses the mental knowledge and skills it takes to screen an aircraft for any discrepancies that would down the aircraft and make it non-mission capable,” said Cohen.

She is the last line of defense to ensure the safety of the aircraft before a flight. 

“Nothing gets past her,” said Cohen. “If Marines try to get away with anything, she catches it.”

As Arsenault continues to strive to be the best, she plans to become an officer and continue her career in the Marine Corps.