From the Field: Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan honors SPAR

Guest post written by Lt. j.g. Brian Dykens, Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan:

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Margaret Radiano, a Coast Guard SPAR, is given a tour of the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan facility by Capt. Matt Sibley, sector commander, on Feb. 14, 2012. SPARs, like Radiano, were the first women to serve in the Coast Guard in the 1940s and served in jobs ashore, which allowed men to serve overseas in support of World War II.U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Brian Dykens

It’s been many years since she was last at a Coast Guard unit, but Valentine’s Day provided a great opportunity to have her aboard at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wis.

MILWAUKEE, Wis.- Margaret Radiano, a Coast Guard SPAR, stands beneath a pennant with the Coast Guard storekeeper rating insignia during her visit to Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan on Feb. 14, 2012. Radiano was a storekeeper when she served on active duty from 1943-1945.U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Brian Dykens

Margaret Radiano served honorably with the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, or SPARS, from January 1943 to October 1945.

Sector Lake Michigan welcomed Radiano, letting her know how much the Coast Guard truly appreciates her service to the country. She received a tour of the sector and of Station Milwaukee and enjoyed lunch with Capt. Matt Sibley, commander of Sector Lake Michigan. A round-table discussion about her time as a SPAR was well attended by sector crewmembers.

“To welcome Ms. Radiano to Sector Lake Michigan and show our appreciation for what she did as a SPAR was the least we could do when compared to the sacrifices she made for the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Sibley. “It was an honor to have her here and listen to her tremendous stories from the World War II Era.”

The U.S. Coast Guard SPARs (a contraction of the Coast Guard motto, “Semper Paratus” and its English translation, “Always Ready”) was established in November 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. They were the first women in the Coast Guard filling shore jobs stateside, which allowed the men to deploy overseas in support of the war effort.

After Radiano graduated from SPARs boot camp at Hunter College in New York, she was stationed in New Orleans, where she worked as a storekeeper at the U.S. Customs House. She was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard in October 1945.

Radiano’s love for the Coast Guard is still evident today as she shared her stories and asked those around her when she could reenlist.

Click here for more information about SPARs.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Coast Guard Capt. Matt Sibley, commander of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, presents a plaque to Margaret Radiano, a Coast Guard SPAR, following her visit to the unit on Feb. 14, 2012. SPARs, like Radiano, were the first women to serve in the Coast Guard in the 1940s and served in jobs ashore, which allowed men to serve overseas in support of World War II.U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Marie Wiener

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