The Coast Guard Shield
The national shield with thirteen stars was
the branch device of the Coast Guard. It was worn on the lower right sleeve
by enlisted personnel. The shield was white embroidered on blue uniforms
of enlisted personnel. On white uniforms and on the gray working uniform
the shield was navy blue in color.
worn on the
blue service uniform by enlisted
Shield worn on the
white uniform by enlisted SPARS
Shield worn on the
gray working uniform by enlisted
Only Chief petty officers wore silver
SPARS officers wore gold colored shields on
all of their jackets on both sleeves above the sleeve stripes.
worn by Officers
Silver Shield worn by Chief
From left to right:
|- Miniature lieutenant junior
grade pin-on rank
- Miniature Coast Guard cap
- Coast Guard cap device in
|The officer's cap device for the service cap
consisted of a large spread eagle with shield holding a fouled anchor in
A miniature cap device was worn on the left
front of the garrison cap while a miniature pin-on rank was worn on the
right front of the garrison cap.
|Chief Petty Officers had a special cap device which consisted of
a fouled anchor with the Coast Guard shield in the center.
A miniature version of this shield was worn on the left front of
the garrison cap.
While enlisted SPARS wore a black band with "U.S. Coast Guard" in
golden letters on their service cap, a collar insignia (as shown below)
was worn as cap device on the left front of the garrison cap.
Chief Petty Officer's
SPARS Collar Insignia
|The collar insignia worn by all SPARS was
a miniature Coast Guard seal in gold metal. It consisted of a circle over
two crossed anchors. On the circle, the letters "United States Coast Guard
1790" were embossed. In the middle was a federal shield with the letters
"semper" at the top and "paratus" at the bottom, the motto of the Coast
The Coast Guard buttons bore an eagle with
spread wings sitting on a perpendicular fouled anchor surrounded by branches.
The buttons had a rope like inner-rim and two branches around the anchor.
|Enlisted personnel wore navy blue plastic
buttons on all service jackets.
SPARS officers wore the navy blue plastic buttons
on the gray working uniform only. Otherwise, they wore gilt buttons on
their service uniforms.
The Coast Guard insignia of rank for both
officers and enlisted men were the same as insignia of rank for corresponding
grades in the Navy except that the Coast Guard shield replaced the Navy
Enlisted SPARS Rank Insignia
The rating of enlisted SPARS was indicated
by rating badges worn on the upper left sleeve half-way between shoulder
and elbow and midway between front and back creases. The rating badges
of SPARS were slightly smaller than those for men.
|SPARS with the rating of Apprentice
(or 3rd Class) Seaman wore a single diagonal
white stripe (on blue uniform) or navy blue stripe (on white and gray uniform).
SPARS with the rating of 2nd
Class Seaman wore two diagonal white stripes
(on blue uniform) or navy blue stripes (on white and gray uniform).
SPARS with the rating of 1st
Class Seaman wore three diagonal white
stripes (on blue uniform) or navy blue stripes (on white and gray uniform).
Specialty and Distinguishing
|The rating badges of Petty Officers consisted
of an eagle, specialty mark and chevrons.
The eagles and specialty marks were embroidered
in white on blue backgrounds for blue uniforms.
On all other uniforms, the eagles and specialty
marks were navy blue on a background corresponding to the uniform color.
The chevrons were scarlet for the blue uniforms
and black for all other uniforms.
Specialist ratings were worn as part of the
rating badge by women enlisted for special service. Specialty Marks were
an indication of skill attained in a particular field. While Distinguishing
Marks were also an indication of skill, they were never worn as part of
the rating badge. It was possible to earn a Distinguishing Mark without
having advanced beyond the non-rating badge. Several of the Specialty Marks
and Distinguishing Marks were identical in design.
The table below shows a couple of Specialty
SPARS Officer's Rank Insignia
(some of these were also used as Distinguishing
Sleeve stripes indicated the rank of officer's
on jackets. Instead of golden sleeve stripes, SPARS officers wore blue
stripes on their jackets (navy blue stripes on white and gray uniforms
and reserve blue on blue uniforms). This difference to male officer's uniforms
should point out their status as reserve.
|The rank table shows the ranks that could
be obtained by SPARS officers prior December 1943.
The highest rank of Lt. Commander was allowed
to be held by one person only. This one person was Ms. Stratton, director
of the SPARS.
In December 1943, SPARS officers were granted
two more ranks, the one of captain and commander. These additional ranks
were indicated by four thick stripes (captain) and three thick stripes
(commander). Like before, the highest authorized rank was allowed to be
held by one person only.
|Pin-on ranks had to be worn on both sides
of the collar on the working dress and on shirts if the jacket was removed.
A pin-on rank was also worn on the right side
of the garrison cap.
|One service stripe sewn to the lower left sleeve indicated 4 years
of active service. The lower edge of the stripe should not be less than
two inches from the bottom edge of sleeve.
The stripes were scarlet on blue uniforms and navy blue on white
and gray uniforms.
Since the SPARS started their service in December 1942, there
were no service stripes worn by SPARS during wartime.
I. Development ] [ II. Facts about
the SPARS ] [ III. Uniforms
] [ IV. Sources