Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay are Navy Veterans Hawley Spradlin and Ruth Marie Nicholson Spradlin Cutlar, who served as aircraft mechanics during World War II.
Hawley Spradlin served as an aircraft mechanic during World War II. Spradlin was born in 1922 and joined the Navy during World War II at the age of 20. Ruth Marie Nicholson Spradlin Cutlar also served as an aircraft mechanic during World War II. Cutlar was born in Indianapolis in December 1922. Cutlar competed in the Miss Indiana beauty pageant at the urging of her all-female unit who entered her without her knowledge. She placed third.
During World War II, Cutlar worked as an aircraft mechanic in the U.S. Navy. It was in the Navy that Cutlar later met Spradlin on the flight line. In March 1945, Cutlar and Spradlin married in Marion County, Indiana, and had two children.
Spradlin would go on to remain in the Navy after the war, serving as a mechanic and building aircraft. However, in 1947, Spradlin unfortunately lost his life during an accident on the flight line in Quincy, Massachusetts, at the Naval Air Station where he was working. He was one of the first U.S. Navy fatalities after World War II. He left behind a wife and two sons—one was a year and a half old while the second was only two weeks old.
After her husband’s death, Cutlar remarried. She worked as a clerk at Naval Station Norfolk and later as a hospital purchasing agent’s assistant in Virginia. Cutlar remained an active member of the American Legion Post 225 in Annandale, Virginia, until her death.
After a brief illness, Cutlar passed away in March 2007 in Virginia.
We honor their service.
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Writer: Alex Boucher and Katherine Berman
Editor: Lutfia Khaleque and Amanda Baker
Fact checker: Ileana Rodrigues
Graphic artist: Katie Rahill