Gainesville Daily Register

Local News

March 28, 2014

'Rosie the Riveter' visits Coast Guard event

Gainesville — An American World War II Icon and symbol of feminine capability, “Rosie the Riveter,” attended the March 22 Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 10 meeting held at the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville and reminded members of the importance of women during war time as well as peace.

Rosie, portrayed by Dallas teacher and corporate trainer, Lisa Foster, honors the legacy of Rosie the Riveter through public appearances, special events and educational venues.

Foster said that she began her portrayal of Rosie on a dare and was so intrigued with the character that she has continued the role.

  In Rosie character, Foster told the group of how she had worked during the war building Liberty ships in the Baltimore shipyards.

“There were many like me who built the Liberty ships, airplanes and other things for the war effort all across the country,” Foster said.” Originally the first Liberty ship took 245 days to build but soon we could put one together in two weeks in an assembly line format.”

  During World War II  Frances Perkins, the nation’s fourth Secretary of Labor and the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet is credited with the  inception of “Rosie” when she resisted the idea of drafting women to serve in the military during World War II.

Believing at the time that women would serve the war effort better at home by filling jobs left behind by men who entered the armed services, Perkins urged women to expand their traditional work environment by entering the civilian workforce. Government contracts had to be filled to keep up the war effort and women were available to do the job.

To cultivate enthusiasm, the United States launched a propaganda campaign to sell the importance of the war effort and to lure women into working nontraditional  jobs.

The fictional character of “Rosie the Riveter” was the ideal woman worker who was loyal, efficient, patriotic and of course attractive. Women responded, eager to aid in the war effort as they also enjoyed earning higher paid factory type jobs. The American culture was forever changed when women went to work outside the home.

  Once at work, they also discovered the nonmaterial benefits of working as they learned new skills, contributed to society, and achieved confidence by proving themselves in jobs once denied.

Current Auxiliary Coast Guard member Ed Beaked served on one of the Liberty ships during the 1950s and told the group that it was a well built ship.

“I was a young man at the time,” Beakey said. “But I can tell you it was quality workmanship and I was proud to have served my tour of duty on it.”

 The role of women also expanded through out the armed forces. The Coast Guard women’s reserve  known as SPARS was established in 1942 by Captain Dorothy Stratton, director of the program.

 The 30,000 members of he United States Coast Guard Auxiliary continue to be ready with responsibilities including vessel safety checks, harbor patrols, safe boating courses, search and rescue and marine environmental protection.

 According to the website, each year Auxiliary members volunteer more than two million hours benefiting boaters and their families.

 Division 10 vice commander, Tommie Kirksmith-Newman, said that they are looking for new members to join the auxiliary.           

For more information contact  Kirksmith-Newman at (940) 736-0179 for more information.


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