Betty Jane Ashcraft Fisher

Betty Jane Ashcraft Fisher was the youngest Coast Guard SPAR in World War II. She was the youngest in her boot camp class (the last for the SPARs), which was in progress when the war ended.

Her story is part of our month of video countdown to the home video release of Homefront Heroines: The WAVES of World War II.

Same Rank and Pay

Like the WAVES, the Coast Guard SPARs would have the same rank and pay as their male counterparts. And like Coast Guard men, the SPARs fell under Navy jurisdiction during World War II. Military protocol demanded that the Coast Guard be commanded by the Navy during wartime.

This recruitment poster comes from the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.

Dorothy Stratton

Coast Guard SPARs leader Dorothy Stratton moved from the WAVES when the Coast Guard SPARs were founded on November 24, 1942. She became the first SPAR. She is credited with giving the SPARs their name: writing in a member to Coast Guard Commandant Vice Admiral Russell Waesche:

The initials of [the Coast Guard motto Semper Paratus, Always Ready] are, of course SPAR. Why not clal the members of the Women’s Reserve SPARs? . . .As I understand it, a spar is. . .a supporting beam and that is what we hope each member of the Women’s Reserve will be.”

This photo comes from the U.S. Coast Guard.