united states coast guard

R 221000 NOV 17
ALCOAST 347/17
1. November 23rd, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the
Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, better known as the SPARS, authorizing women to
join the Reserves and paving the way for women in the service today.
2. Early in 1942 the country was consumed with the need to build up its armed
forces and military industries quickly to fight in World War II. The call
went out to every able-bodied man, but women wanted to do their part,
stepping up to fill the jobs vacated as men joined the military. Soon, women
were asked to join the war effort and serve in the military.
3. The Coast Guard Women’s Reserve Act was signed into law by President
Franklin Roosevelt, amending the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Reserve Act of
1941 to authorize women to join the Reserve to release “officers and men for
duty at sea and their replacement by women in the shore establishment of the
Coast Guard” for the duration of war.
4. Dorothy Stratton, a member of the Navy’s WAVES, accepted a transfer to the
Coast Guard and was appointed the Director of the Women’s Reserve, receiving
promotion to captain. She created the name SPAR, “Semper Paratus Always
Ready,” from the Coast Guard’s motto and to honor the four cherished freedoms
of speech, press, assembly and religion.
5. On December 7th, 1942, the one year anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Yeoman
Third Class Dorothy Tuttle enlisted as the first SPAR. She was soon joined by
thousands more. The average SPAR Officer was 29 years old, single, and
college educated with a professional career. The average enlisted SPAR was 24
years old, single, with a high school diploma and experience in clerical or
sales work.
6. SPARS worked as yeomen, store-keepers, receptionists, messengers, clerks,
operators, technicians, drivers, pharmacist’s mates, cooks, and stewards.
SPAR officers managed SPAR staffs in personnel, pay, and supply,
identification, and other departments, and served as engineers, draftsmen,
and coding officers. Specialized ratings included parachute riggers and
operators of the highly-classified LORAN technology, used for navigation and
locating ships and aircraft. SPARS also served at isolated duty stations and
manned important communication centers.
7. SPARS trained at specialized facilities. Starting in 1943 the Coast Guard
established its own training centers for SPAR officers and enlisted
personnel. Officers trained at the Coast Guard Academy in New London and
enlisted women trained at the Palm Beach Biltmore Hotel in Florida.
8. Over 11,000 women served as SPARS, playing a vital role in the Allied
victory. Their patriotic service, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice
contributed greatly to victory and changed their lives forever. Activated as
temporary replacements, SPARS proved their value through hard work and
devotion to duty leading the way for women to serve in uniform. The SPARS
were ever, and will always remain, SEMPER PARATUS–ALWAYS READY.
9. During this 75th anniversary, the Coast Guard will celebrate and recognize
the service of this greatest generation. For more information please visit
the Historian’s Office website at:
10. RADM P. Gautier, Director of Governmental and Public Affairs, sends.
11. Internet release authorized.