For the love of her country

In the early 1940s women were just beginning to work outside the home and the idea of women serving in the military was still seen as taboo for many people. Vivian McRae didn’t care what anyone else thought; she wanted to serve her country. On her 20th birthday in 1943, McRae headed to a recruiting office in Seattle and joined the Coast Guard’s first women’s reserve known as the SPARs – an acronym derived from the Coast Guard’s motto of Semper Paratus and its translation of Always Ready.