COAST GUARD SPAR'S
The 1940s bring memories of tearful train-station good-byes, war bond drives, ration cards and much-feared telegrams. To the soldiers, sailors and airmen of that era, World War II was not just a far-off conflict, it was a reality. These young men were in the forefront in war-torn Europe and the battle grounds of the Pacific.
But for the women left behind, the reality of war was also close to home. These mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and fiancées of the brave young men wanted to do their part too and became soldiers, sailors and airmen - and even Coast Guardsmen in the global war.
On Nov. 23, 1942, legislation was approved creating yet another arm of the U.S. Coast Guard, one that would pave the way for Coast Guard women of today - The U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve, also known as the SPARs.
Although the Coast Guard had done many jobs since 1790 without taking women into its enlisted or officer ranks, the onset of a world war changed the course of history for women in all the armed services. When World War II came, the Coast Guard and the other services found themselves in great need of more men at sea and more troops on foreign soil. They acknowledged that filling U.S. shore jobs with women would allow more men to serve elsewhere and hasten the war effort.
Read more on the SPAR's at the CG history Woman's Reserve website.
These are some photos given to Station Chatham by Sandi Eldredge, whose mother, Anita June "Freeman" Eldredge, was a pioneer SPAR during the 1940's. We were able to meet two SPAR's who attended the Chatham Reunion, Ruth Farham and Janet McIlvin. They were both SPAR's in the early 1940's. Absolutely fabulous women, a great credit to the Reserve SPAR's.