The Ground Observer Corps (GOC) was under the direction of the United States Air Force (USAF). With the call for over a million civilian observers and observing posts placed 8 miles apart over thousands of miles, the USAF had to hit the pavement and go into local communities. They not only tried to recruit people to be observers but also to scout locations for observing posts and provide some basic training.
Former observers talk about “the Air Force man” coming into town and talking to people about joining the GOC. There are newspaper articles about Air Force personnel attending the opening of local observing posts as well as handing out awards to observers. I’ll need to do more research to see exactly how much the Air Force did this. I suspect there was a big push in the early years of 1951 and 1953 when Operation Skywatch was officially launched. Then a renewed effort in 1955 when the manuals were updated. But by 1958, the program was winding down and would disband in January of 1959.
This recruiting film, probably from the early 50s judging by the aircraft flash form and the manual, shows a scripted version of the “Air Force man” talking to a local couple about starting an observation post. It also shows, in an overly dramatic fashion, what observers do in their post and how they report suspicious air craft. As always, ordinary citizens help save the day and provide much needed help for the nation’s air defenses.
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