“The Coast Guard Lady” turned 100 years old with accolades and heartfelt thanks from the Coasties she’s supported for decades.
“A #WWII veteran & SPAR, she has spent decades writing letters to thousands of @USCG members increasing morale one letter at a time,” Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz tweeted this past Saturday. “Thank you, Ms. Bouton! We are forever grateful for your support!”
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Jason Vanderhaden lauded Bouton as a “very special lady” and a “trailblazer.”
“Her service and continued support to Coast Guard members through the years has been remarkable. The profound impact she’s had on our members and our service as a whole is extraordinary, and we could not be more proud and honored to celebrate with her today. She has been – and continues to be – an inspiration,” Vanderhaden wrote on Facebook.
“Lois, today you were given many gifts and some very deserving recognition. You were made an Honorary Commodore of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, an honorary citizen of the City of Grand Haven, you were given your SECOND key to the city of Rogers, given your own challenge coin and today you were advanced to Honorary Master Chief! These are unmatched and nothing close to the extraordinary effort and dedication you have given to our service. We could not be more grateful. Happy Birthday Lois, we love you!”
Bouton, a native of Lake County, Ill., and current resident of Rogers, Ark., joined the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, also known as SPARS for “Semper Paratus—Always Ready,” in 1943. After writing to servicemen in the Korean and Vietnam wars, she began writing to Coast Guard units in Alaska in 1974. In 2013, she estimated to Compass that she had written “well over a thousand Coast Guard Day cards a year” for 40 years.
Once asked how she would like to be remembered, Bouton replied, “As the Coast Guard Lady!”