WWII, the US Coast Guard played a very important role
in St. Augustine as part of the Atlantic Coast defense
Guardsmen, called "Coasties", were stationed
at the lighthouse on Anastasia Island where they stood
armed watches at the top of the tower and reduced the
candlepower to prevent Allied ships from being sunk by
November 1942, the US government amended the Coast Guard
Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941 to establish the Women's
could now enlist in the Coast Guard and serve up to six
months after the war ended. These new recruits took over
clerical and other shore work thereby freeing vital male
personnel for sea duty.
C. Stratton, who headed the Women's Reserve, came up with
the name for this group of women: SPARS. The word is derived
from the Coast Guard motto Semper Paratus, Always Ready.
quickly joined the war effort and their numbers grew rapidly.
In 1942 recruitment started with 15 officers and 153 enlisted
personnel. By June 1944, the SPARS numbered 771 officers
and 7,600 enlisted personnel. Overall, more than 10,000
women volunteered to help the war effort as SPARS.