During World War II, much of America’s male Armed Forces were needed on the front lines, leaving an emptiness of sorts on the American home front. Thousands of women witnessed this emptiness and mobilized. Many joined the Armed Forces Reserves, wanting to serve their country the best way they could. Women went through concentrated courses to become radio operators, officers’ secretaries, and more.
Many women served their country diligently; however, one woman, in particular stands out. Captain Dorthy Stratton is seen as a pioneer in the Women’s Armed Forces. Originally joining the Women’s Naval Reserves, Captain Stratton eventually transferred to the Coast Guard Reserves becoming the first women to be accepted into the program. She quickly moved up the ranks and became a Captain in the Women’s Coast Guard Reserves. One of her first contributions to the quickly growing program was its name, the SPARS. “Semper Paratus, Always Ready”, is known as the Coast Guard’s motto; however, Captain Stratton took that motto and gave it new meaning, christening all members of the Women’s Reserves with that name, the SPARS.
Captain Dorthy Stratton’s diligence and perseverance throughout her military career has paved the way for other women in the military to achieve higher ranks. In 2008, the Coast Guard named its third National Security Cutter WMSL-752 to memorialize her military service and career.