Differently Abled Observers

The first article I read about the GOC mentioned that recruits ranged from 7-80 years in age and the only requirement was that you be able to speak clearly on the telephone. There were actually some observers that were blind who located planes by sound. Well the October 1955 issue of The Aircraft Flash magazine does not disappoint. The back two pages are filled with updates from GOC posts and filter centers across the US.

Observers Who Don’t Observe

First, in Roylston, MA Mrs. Alice B. Clark, who is partially deaf, works with her blind son Richard E. Clark. He is able to hear the planes before they can be spotted.  He can even tell the number of engines, distance, and location by sound. Apparently this is very handy at night and in cloudy weather. His mother makes visual confirmation when the planes are in range and phones it in. Both of them received the Meritorious Service Award for over 500 hours of service.

Across the United States in Los Banos, CA, Miss Gale Buck, who was blind from birth, also works with her mother at the local observation post. Her father is one of the day captains.

Take a Gander at this Observer

Not to be outdone, Keith Howser in Saint Edward, NE discovered that his goose was an excellent plane spotter. The goose would sound the alarm 20 to 30 seconds before people could hear or see an incoming plane. No report on whether or not if the goose earned an extra set of wings.



Mrs. Wilkeen and Pudgy

And finally, we have Pudgy, who is aptly named. Darling Pudgy belonged to a Mrs. Wilkeen of Billings, MT. He would run to the front door and bark when he would hear a plane and then follow his mom to the phone while she made the report. Apparently in July of 1955, he spotted 77 planes and 1 balloon. Who’s a good boy?

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