The Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard will host a panel discussion scheduled for August 6, 1:00 p.m., 2100 2nd St., SW, room 2415, here, with 10 women who served in the Coast Guard during World War II.
Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, the service's first woman to achieve the rank of Vice Admiral, will lead a discussion among 10 veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve, who are also known as SPARs. Joining the panel will be the Coast Guard's most junior enlisted woman and most junior commissioned woman serving in the National Capital Region. This gathering of history-making women provides a unique opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences of women in the U.S. Coast Guard.
SPARs filled shore-based military positions during World War II, thereby allowing men in the Coast Guard to serve at sea and overseas. SPARs were under military direction and subject to assignments according to needs of the service. More than 10,000 women volunteered to serve as SPARs between 1942 and 1946.
"The SPARs are an integral part of our collective heritage," said Crea. "It is not often enough that we have an opportunity to speak first hand with those who have had such an influence on our service and have paved the way for so many. They have been an inspiration to me and I am honored to host such a remarkable group of women."
Adm. Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, will unveil Crea's official portrait following the panel discussion. The portrait will commemorate Crea's service as the Coast Guard's second in command as she prepares for her Change of Watch ceremony scheduled for August 6.