Women in the United States Coast Guard

There have been women in the United States Coast Guard since 1918, and women continue to serve in it today.[1][2][3]


World War I

In 1918, twin sisters Genevieve and Lucille Baker of the Naval Coastal Defense Reserve became the first uniformed women to serve in the Coast Guard.[1][2][3]

World War II

On November 23, 1942, the Coast Guard Women's Reserve, nicknamed SPARS or SPARs, was created with the signing of Public Law 773 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.[4] Dorothy Stratton transferred from the Navy WAVES to serve as the Reserve's director.[2] Dorothy Tuttle was the first woman to enlist in the Coast Guard Women's Reserve, and in all 11,868 enlisted women and 978 female officers served in it during World War II.[2] After the war, the Coast Guard Women's Reserve was ended in 1947 but recreated in a smaller form in 1949.[2]

Korean War era

Approximately 200 women who had been in the Coast Guard Women's Reserve reenlisted and served during the Korean War.[5] They mostly served at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.[5]

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War gave the Coast Guard a surplus of qualified male applicants, and the Coast Guard did not make a systematic effort to attract women during that time.[6]

Women in the Coast Guard since 1972

Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973), was a landmark Supreme Court case which decided that benefits given by the military to the family of service members cannot be given out differently because of sex.[7][Note 1] In 1974 the Coast Guard Women's Reserve was ended and women became part of the regular Coast Guard.[8] In 1976 the Coast Guard Academy first admitted women; in 1985 the Coast Guard Academy's top graduate was a woman for the first time.[3][9]

In 1977 the first Coast Guard women were assigned to sea duty as crew members aboard Morgenthau and Gallatin.[3]

In 1978 the Coast Guard opened all assignments to women.[3]

1979: LTJG Beverly G. Kelley became the first female commanding officer afloat in U.S. history when she took command of USCGC Cape Newagen.

Women in the Coast Guard served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.[2]

1993 Patricia A. Stolle becomes the first woman in the Coast Guard to advance to Master Chief Petty Officer.[10]

Women in the Coast Guard also served in the Afghanistan War from 2001 until 2014, and in the Iraq War from 2003 until 2011.[2][11][12][13][14]

In 2011 Sandra Stosz was chosen by the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, ADM Robert J. Papp to become the superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy.[15] As such, she was the first woman to lead a United States military service academy.[16][17]

See also


  1. Technically, the case was decided under the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause, not under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, since the latter applies not to the federal government but to the states. However, because Bolling v. Sharpe, through the doctrine of reverse incorporation, made the standards of the Equal Protection Clause applicable to the federal government, it was for practical purposes an addition not to due process, but rather to equal protection jurisprudence.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Women in the United States Coast Guard.
  1. 1 2 "Women in the military — international". CBC News. 30 May 2006. Archived from the original on 28 March 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Women's History Chronology", Women & the U. S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Women In Military Service For America Memorial". Womensmemorial.org. 1950-07-27. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  4. A Preliminary Survey of the Development of the Women's Reserve of the United States Coast Guard, p 3
  5. 1 2 Paul M. Edwards (1 January 2006). The Korean War. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 53–. ISBN 978-0-313-33248-7.
  6. A History of Women in the Coast Guard, by Dr. John A. Tilley
  7. "Frontiero v. Richardson | The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law". Oyez.org. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  8. World Book, Inc (2003). World Book Focus on Terrorism. World Book. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-0-7166-1295-7.
  9. Oretha D. Swartz (1988). Service Etiquette. Naval Institute Press. pp. 528–. ISBN 978-0-87021-620-6.
  10. http://www.uscg.mil/history/people/StollePAbio.pdf
  11. "U.S. Coast Guard History". Uscg.mil. Retrieved 2015-08-11.
  12. "Afghanistan War officially ends". Militarytimes.com. 2014-12-30. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  13. "Last U.S. troops leave Iraq, ending war - Reuters". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
  14. Lisa Yvette Tendrich Frank (17 January 2013). An Encyclopedia of American Women at War: From the Home Front to the Battlefields [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp. 694–. ISBN 978-1-59884-444-3.
  15. Altimari, Daniela (2010-12-15). "Military academy gets female leader". Times-Picayune (Saint Tammany Edition). New Orleans. p. A2. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  16. "First woman to take helm of a U.S. military academy". United States Coast Guard Academy Media Port. 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  17. Malec, William A. (May 2012). "Female firsts". Military Officer. Military Officers Association of America. p. 19. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
References used
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