Us Army Air Corps, Gill Robb Wilson, Laguardia discussed on Stuff You Should Know
Okay? When there were people in this country that loved their flying civilians, and they saw the beginning of the war in the late nineteen thirties, when Europe European fascist basically said nine no more civilian flying. It's all shutdown. Yeah. And so the aviators over here civilian aviators were like whoa. That's not cool. We like flying planes. Maybe we should get organized. And see if we can actually advance you to the military as civilians, because that was back when all Americans wanted to pitch in a little bit to help out the war effort. Right. Is there is the one guy in particular guy named Gill Robb Wilson, but he was not the only one there's another dude named Milton night. And both are credited with founding, basically civilian air force auxiliary program, right to say, hey military, we're not. Military. It's cool. But there's other stuff we can do to help you guys out. And let's also not forget that if we can use our collective clout to popularize flying in aviation, and just get more Americans interested in showing that, that, hey, you can actually learn to fly come hang out with us, we'll show you how will will be generating a pool of pre trained pilots who can transfer over to the military. If the US ends up going into World War, Two, yeah. Almost like a reserve unit. Even though it is not that now it's an auxiliary unit, which means it, it's, it's an auxiliary. It's on the side. It's in addition to it's not it's not like a reserve unit that can be called up to active duty military like the reserves. It's a civilian volunteer force. Right. So Gill Robb Wilson was working on this and kind of concurrently. There were some some. State based aviation groups for civilian civil civil defense units that were kinda cropping up here and they on the east coast. And so he kind of saw the writing on the wall and wanted to make things official. So he developed a plan in nineteen forty one for the civil air patrol. Got support very importantly, got support from gentlemen name Fierro LaGuardia. You don't put any mustard on LaGuardia now. It's just a credit airport. Okay. Actually, I like LaGuardia. It's six coming along, but yeah, still kinda crazy it. It's fine. None of the New York airports are great. Let's have you. Have you ever seen the, the pictures of the abandoned, TWA, terminal at LaGuardia Ohno from like the jet age the sixties? Awesome. It's amazing. It's like a time capsule frozen in time. And I think they converted it into a hotel recently. But, like go somebody did a really good photo spread like back in two thousand twelve or whatever just look up TWA terminal. Maybe it's JFK and not Liguori. I think it is JFK either way it's still worth checking out. I'll check it out. Okay. So laguardia. He was the director of the office of civilian defense at the time. He of course airport was named after him. He was mayor of New York City at one point, he was an aviator World, War One. So it was really a big deal to get him. On board. And they designed their little logo, which is a blue circle with a propeller three propellers in a white triangle. Yeah. And initially they were handled by because this was pre air force before the, the air force was officially established after World War, Two it was part of the US army air corps. Right. Was the US army air corps, which I think we, we made that distinction in the Teske airman. Yes. So remember correctly. So everyone kind of gets on board and LA Guardia signs the civil air corps, as it was known originally into existence on December first nineteen forty one and as you will note that date, very relevant because just six days later is when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, and all of a sudden, we could use this help. Yeah. And I mean remember this is like a surprise attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. So it was pretty prescient of Gill Robb Wilson in Fiorello LaGuardia to, to get this thing organized. And. Together because. Yeah. Within a week. There were like, okay we probably can use you guys. Yeah. The problem is that the air corps initially was, like, what are we going to do with these like these civilians? You know, super gung ho civilians, too. I imagine. Right, exactly. Which, which is like even worse to have to deal with in, like, as regular old civilians who don't know what they're doing. Yeah. In some cases, it turned out that it was actually the civil air patrol was really helpful because one of the really overlooked things about World War, Two is that German, u boats. You know, like a variation of a submarine, but they just couldn't stay under quite as long. Yeah. They did little dives, they wreaked absolute havoc on the United States coasts, during World War. Two basically within a month of Pearl Harbor four to six weeks after Pearl Harbor the first US freighter the city of. Atlanta was sunk by a u boat off the coast of North Carolina. And that was the first of I think three hundred and ninety seven ships that were either sunk or damaged by u boats in six months off the coast of America. Yes. So this point, the civil air patrol has one wing is what they call it per state have no idea how many states there were, I think it was forty eight just kidding in each one of those wings was divided into squadrons, and they were operating out of civilian airports, mostly, but then in nineteen forty two they were they started opening up some dedicated civil air patrol bases in certain states around the country. So all of a sudden, there are in nineteen forty to forty thousand people enrolled in the civil patrol. Yeah. And these German, u boats are doing damage off the coast, and all of a sudden they were like, well, listen. We weren't sure quite what to do with you guys. You've been. Helping us out. You've been delivering some things and even some personnel at times, and munitions. But we think what you know, we don't have the resources in our, what will soon be called the air force to just patrol up and down the east coast all the time. So that's where you're gonna really be valuable to us. And that was really the first big kind of important use of the civil air patrol in World War. Two. Yeah. And it was affected too. Because with you boats part of the doctrine of, of u boat warfare. Subcommander nece. Was that if you saw a plane overhead you, dove sure to get away from that plane because they were very vulnerable from an aerial attack. So just seeing a civil air patrol plane overhead meant that the sub had to break off from pursuit of whatever tanker, freighter troop transport. It was about to sink. Yeah. And dive in innovate that plane just even unarmed civil air patrol plane because they didn't know they're unarmed at the time. I don't exactly. So this actually started working out pretty well, but there's one incident in particular off the coast of a right at Cape Canaveral from what I understand you boat got caught on a sandbar man, and was just laying there exposed trying to get free for about thirty minutes in a civil air patrol plane was circling. It had spotted it had called in for reinforcements. I think for an aerial strike from the air corps. For the sitting duck of U-boat and before the airstrike. Could get there to blow the u boat up. It got it self free and made it to scapegoat away. And this was enough of the frustrating enough event magin that pilot was, I want a bomb so bad. Well in very short order, the air, the air corps commander, hap- was his name. Henry hap Arnold hap. Arnold say give them those bombs in the civil air patrol, not in any way, a military organization. A civilian auxiliary group was given depth charges embalm to drop on u boats from that point on for the rest of World War, Two, he s so here's the deal with that. They, they had to bomb from very, very high up. They had to use improvised bomb sites because, you know this, they didn't just have this stuff lying around, and they needed this stuff for the real. I was about say the real planes for the military, right? So they weren't like, here's the best bomb. Mm sites. We have. So there's really no like. I think the civil air patrol probably likes to claim that they actually bombed u boats, but there, aren't any official on record bombings. That were carried out by civil air patrol that, like sank, u boats. Right. You talked to Germany was like, nah, never happened didn't affect us. They said nine civil air patrol is like no. It's more like ya. Right. So the, it is indisputable particular one sub that some civil air patrol guys dropped depth charges over in New Jersey. And they said a geyser of oil and water erupted from the water, which would indicate that they had sunk this, this U-boat like you're saying the Germans don't have any records, anything like that. Okay. So no. Or they probably didn't at the very least, though. They did harass the German, u boats. Sure. And whether it was directly because of civil air patrol patrols over the coastline. Or not by July about six months after the first attack German, u boats, like pulled off of American coastal waters, and stop the tacking. So it probably wasn't entirely coincidence. It probably wasn't entirely because of the civil air patrol, but it they almost certainly played a prominent role in Germany's discontinuation of their sub attacks in American waters. Yes. Oh, here's what we'll do. We'll do a stat cliffhanger. Okay. 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