SURFOR Hosts Women Veterans During Ceremony

By MC2 (SW/AW) Elena Velazquez

SAN DIEGO, CA – Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) Women’s History Committee honored twelve women veterans during a Women’s History Month celebration March 31 at SURFOR headquarters.

“The veterans here today made history by being among the first women to volunteer their service and pave the way of the future for today’s women in the military. I applaud their dedication and courage,” said Vice Adm. D. C. Curtis, Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Commander, Naval Surface Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The veterans' military backgrounds ranged from those who served in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) to Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).

Margorie Peterson, who was a Yeomen 2nd Class in the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, during World War II, said, “I didn’t know what to expect, but the program was wonderful. It was an honor to be here.” At that time, women such as Peterson, were affectionately known as SPARs (Semper Paratus - Always Ready), the Coast Guard motto.

Tying in with this year’s theme, “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet,” SURFOR’s Women’s History Committee invited Robin Rierdan, executive director of Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy, to be the guest speaker.

“I began my program with just one other person after I took a 12-year break to raise my children,” said Rierdan. “The job was tough but I took all the challenges and was a part of creating a beautiful park. I am an example of what women are capable of doing; never underestimate us.”

After the completion of the ceremony, SURFOR’s staff members had the chance to engage with the veterans and guest speaker.

“It was such an inspiration to meet these wonderful women,” said Yeomen 2nd Class (AW) Tashana Crum. "Their success in the military has given me the opportunity that I may not have had: to serve in the United States Navy.”