Tag: florence finch

The Long Blue Line: Florence Finch—Asian-American SPAR and FRC namesake dons uniform 75 years ago!

Florence Smith Finch supplied food and medicine to American POWs in the Philippines then became a Coast Guard SPAR late in World War II. (Coast Guard Collection)

Florence Finch Smith was the first Asian-American woman to don a Coast Guard uniform. In 1995, the Coast Guard honored Finch’s service by naming the administration building for her at Coast Guard Base Honolulu. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 101. Of her wartime activities, she stated “I feel very humble because my activities in the war effort were trivial compared with those of people who gave their lives for their country.”

The Long Blue Line: SPARs – female trailblazers of the Coast Guard

A World War II recruiting poster for SPARs, the Women’s Reserve branch of the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard image.

By the end of World War II, nearly 12,000 SPARs had served in the Coast Guard. They pioneered the role of their gender in the service, the federal government and the nation as a whole. They have since helped shape the Coast Guard into a better institution for all men and women and continue to do so today.