By Ashley Rader
Louise Lane joined the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve in World War II when she was a young woman in the hopes of being able to pursue a nursing career.
Lane, now 94, was in her mid-20s when she signed up for the Women’s Reserve, which was nicknamed the SPARs. SPAR was an acronym for the Coast Guard’s motto, Semper Paratus, and its English translation, Always Ready.
She said she chose to sign up because it offered access to schooling, which would have allowed her to become a nurse. However, she signed up too late and missed the deadline to enter nursing school.
“When the war broke out, they needed more people, especially women,” Lane said. “I was living at the Y, and the recruiting officer came in and talked to the superintendent. My family wasn’t keen on me going in the service because it didn’t have a good name when it first started out. When I did sign up, it was too late to be a nurse.”
Lane was living in New Beford, Mass., at that time. She and three other girls living at the Young Women’s Christian Association went together to Boston to take the test for the Coast Guard. They planned to be stationed and serve together during the war. However, Lane was the only one to pass the examination.
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