Tag: Olivia Hooker

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.

The Long Blue Line: African-Americans in the U.S. Coast Guard (Part 2)

In the second part of the history of African-Americans serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, we recognize several members who have made an impact on the Coast Guard and the many firsts they have accomplished.

The Long Blue Line: Olivia Hooker – Minority Trailblazer and Community Leader

1st African-American female Coast Guardsman honored

Despite experiencing hatred and racism in her youth, Dr. Olivia Hooker has dedicated her life to serving the needs of her community and her nation, living by her life philosophy, “it’s not about you or me; it’s about what we can give to this world.” Now, at the age of 101, Hooker remains an important member of the long blue line and an example of the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.

A national treasure

Olivia Hooker recalled her experiences as one of the first African American female members in the Coast Guard SPAR program during World War II. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

On Nov. 23, 1942, legislation approved the implementation of the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve. The women who joined were more commonly known as SPARs – an acronym derived from the Coast Guard’s motto, ‘Semper Paratus, Always Ready’ – and formed the foundation for women serving today. On March 9, 1945, Olivia Hooker headed to boot camp. While women had been heading enlisting for months by then, one thing was unique about Hooker – she was one of only five African American females to first enlist in the SPAR program.

Olivia Hooker: A SPAR’s Story

Olivia Hooker

On Nov. 23, 1942, legislation approved the implementation of the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve; the program known as SPAR – the acronym derived from the translations of the Coast Guard’s motto, ‘Semper Paratus, Always Ready’ – became the foundation for women in the Coast Guard today.

Dr. Olivia Hooker: Veteran trail blazer

Dr. Olivia Hooker

Dr. Olivia Hooker, 97, addresses an audience at a Women's History Month celebration in Manhattan's Federal Hall on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Dr Hooker, who went on to earn her doctorate in psychology, joined the service as a SPAR – Semper Paratus, Always Ready – the acronym used for female service personnel during World War

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