Dorothy C. Stratton

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For the Canadian model and actress, see Dorothy Stratten.
Dorothy Constance Stratton
Capt. Dorothy Stratton during World War II
Born (1899-03-24)March 24, 1899
Brookfield, Missouri
Died September 17, 2006(2006-09-17) (aged 107)
Lafayette, Indiana
Place of burial Lafayette, Indiana
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Coast Guard
Years of service 1942-1946
Rank Captain
Commands held SPARS
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Legion of Merit
Other work Executive Director, Girl Scouts of the USA

Dorothy Constance Stratton (March 24, 1899 – September 17, 2006) was the director of the SPARS, the United States Coast Guard Women's Reserve during World War II. She is the namesake of the Coast Guard's third National Security Cutter, the USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752).

Early life and Coast Guard career[edit]

Stratton was born in 1899 in Brookfield, Missouri. She graduated from Ottawa University in 1920 and received her Master's degree from the University of Chicago. She received a Ph.D. from Columbia University. She taught at public high schools in Brookfield, Missouri, Renton, Washington and San Bernardino, California (she was dean of girls at San Bernardino High School) before joining the faculty at Purdue University as dean of women and assistant professor of psychology.

She served on the selection board for the Women's Army Corps V Corps Area. In 1942, she took a leave of absence from Purdue and joined the WAVES, and was commissioned a lieutenant.

In late 1942, she was ordered to Washington, DC to the office of the Commandant of the Coast Guard to organize the Coast Guard Women's Reserve, and was transferred from the Navy to the Coast Guard. She developed the name SPARS using a contraction of the Coast Guard motto Semper Paratus and its English translation Always Ready. She was appointed its first director with a rank of lieutenant commander.

Stratton continued in the post until 1946 and rose to the rank of captain. As director, she oversaw over 10,000 enlisted women and 1,000 commissioned officers.

She left the Coast Guard in 1946 shortly before the SPARS were demobilized. For her service she was awarded the Legion of Merit.

After World War II[edit]

After the war, Stratton served as director of personnel for the International Monetary Fund (1947–1950). In 1950, she became national executive director of the Girl Scouts of the USA, a post she held until 1960. In 1958, she appeared as a guest challenger on the TV panel show "To Tell The Truth". Stratton died in West Lafayette, Indiana at the age of 107. She was interred at Grandview Cemetery next to her parents.

Honors and tributes[edit]

The Women Officers Professional Association (now the Sea Services Leadership Association) named its Captain Dorothy Stratton Leadership Award in her honor. Created in 2001, the award is presented to a female officer (W-2 to O-4) of the Coast Guard who shows leadership and mentorship and who shares the Coast Guard's core values. In 2005, the Ottawa University Alumni Association awarded its Outstanding Achievement Award to Stratton.

In 2008, the Coast Guard named its third National Security Cutter the USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) in her honor.

In 2016 the National Women's History Project selected Stratton as one of its honorees for National Women's History Month for her public service and government leadership.[1]


  1. ^ "National Women's History Month 2016". National Women's History Project. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mason, John T., Jr. The Atlantic War Remembered: An Oral History Collection (Naval Institute Press, 1990).
  • Stratton, Dorothy C. "Launching the SPARs." Naval History 3#2 (1989): 58+.
  • Who's Who of American Women. (1959) Vol. I. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who.

External links[edit]