Who Watches the Watchmen?

A GOC post was overseen by a supervisor. The post supervisor was assisted by the chief observer and the assistant chief observer. For the new post supervisor,  The Post Supervisors Manual outlined everything a new supervisor needed to know to successfully recruit, train, staff, and fund-raise for their new post. At only 14 pages, it seems like a short manual for such an important job. The manual states that its purpose is not to dictate procedures to but give new supervisors a set of tools for their job.

GOC Post Supervisors Manual

GOC Post Supervisors Manual

It is interesting to note that a lot of post supervisors were women, as housewives were specifically targeted as recruits.. The Post Supervisors Manual acknowledges this in the first sentence of the guide, with a greeting to “Mr. or Mrs. Supervisor” but then continues on for the rest of the manual by using just male pronouns and honorifics. Ah, the 1950s. 


Ground Observer Corps Post Supervisors Manual Interior

Supervisors were mainly in charge of doing all the administrative paperwork for the post, recruiting new members, fund-raising for the building and upkeep of the observation tower, and most importantly, keeping their observers happy. The manual points out that “luxury items” such as coffee pots and hot plates are really necessities and go a long way to keeping observers happy.

The first task of a supervisor was to select the site for the observation tower Once the site was selected, it was also up to the supervisor to figure out a way to build the tower and pay for it as civil defense was a state matter and the Air Force did not a lot funds to it. Thus a large portion of the manual is dedicated to information about how to advertise, get contributions, and gather support from the local community. There was also an Advertising Council for the Ground Observers Corps that provided advertising material and advice. I need to do more research and find out more about them. Filter center representatives were also available for advice and for help.

The last few pages of the manual describe how to set up a new post and the forms a supervisor needed to fill out as part of the administrative work of the post. There’s a note that some states require additional forms such as loyalty oaths.


3 thoughts on “Who Watches the Watchmen?

  1. Pingback: Flyers – of the Paper Kind – Operation Skywatch – Ground Observer Corps

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  3. Pingback: Shilling for the Corps | Ground Observer Corps – Operation Skywatch

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