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…a journal of
CAP history,
feature articles,
scholarly works,
and stories of

CAP National Historical Journal
Volume II, Issue II: APR-JUN 2015

The Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal is published quarterly by professional volunteer staff. As academic historians by trade,
we recognize the demand for quality publications reflecting a variety of interests to Civil Air Patrol readers, and strive to offer the
best in feature and thought provoking articles. We trust you will enjoy what the e-journal has to offer and will consider contributing
to the mission of our staff in providing a forum for the great traditions of our organization.

National Historical Editor’s Note:
In this issue of the Journal, the reader will find the first
chapter in a series of articles on the history of the Civil
Air Patrol, from its inception in 1941, through its 75th
year in 2016. One or more chapters will appear in later
issues of the Journal through 2017, as we bring CAP’s
history up to the present.
The first chapter is by Rev. Jill Paulson, granddaughter
of CAP Founder Gill Robb Wilson. Rev. Paulson has
unique access to many documents not otherwise
available, and provides a unique insight into the
foundation of our organization.


n a summer day in 1936, New Jersey Director of
Aviation, Gill Robb Wilson, stepped on the giant

dirigible, the Hindenburg, bound for Germany. During his
month-long tour, he was given carte blanche access to
German aviation events and facilities. He also met with
many German leaders and was even escorted by a
forthright – and perhaps too chatty - Army officer.
However, their show of aerial strength affected Wilson
in a way the Germans could not have foreseen. Rather
than returning to America with nothing but praise for
German efficiency and aviation superiority, Wilson

Preview of the 75th Anniversary
History of the Civil Air Patrol:
Eyes on the Home Skies

concluded another world war was inevitable and
America would be inexorably drawn into it. A
culmination of events prompted this opinion.

Jill Paulson

Where runs this road my wing is set upon This trail that spurns the land and sea?
The wind that whispers in the tight wire
Sounds like the call of destiny.
- Gill Robb Wilson

First, even though Germany was prohibited by the 1919
Versailles Treaty from having an air force, Wilson saw
that it was building a substantial civilian fleet of planes
easily converted to military use. He assumed this was
Germany’s intention all along. Second, after witnessing

An Idea Is Formed
No one ever said it was going to be easy. It wasn’t. But
what else can one do with a vision - a dream – that just
won’t go away? For one man, it started like this...

the massive aeronautical training of schoolboys, he
realized the emphasis on a youth flying corps was not

At the German Gliding Championship in Wasserkuppe,

lacked in manpower was compensated for by its

when inquiring about why so many boys towed gliders—

emphasis on youth-power. Wilson came to the

a job easily done by a truck — he was told efficiency

conclusion, “Hitler was not drafting an air force, he was

wasn’t important. Rather, what was most vital was

raising it from the cradle.”3 No doubt, it would take only

providing hands-on experience to as many boys as

few years, before Germany could boast a very

possible. The German leaders believed that the more

disciplined and robust military.

involved the youth were in any facet of aviation, the
more they would participate.

Finally, at a relaxed dinner toward the end of his trip,
Wilson’s escort spoke fondly of Atlantic City, New
Jersey—a little too fondly for Wilson’s comfort. The
German said, “I know your Atlantic City well. In the war I
was a submarine officer. Several evenings I went ashore
and strolled the boardwalk or watched the auctions. I
even brought back fresh bread for my crew.” Mellowed
by good wine, he continued, “Your East Coast is the best
hunting ground in the world for submarines.”4 This

Postcard from Wilson during the 1936 Glider Championship,
Wasserkuppe, Germany. Used with permission by Jill Paulson


revelation about our vulnerable shoreline—especially in
his home state of New Jersey—troubled Wilson for

ilson later noted, “The basis of Germany’s
strength in the air is not merely technical

knowledge, but the enthusiasm that is being engendered
in the youth of the nation.”1 To compound this, he
realized German emphasis on youth extended beyond
aviation. Whereas he was assured prior to his trip that
Germany lacked enough men to fight a war, he saw that
boys in every town he visited marched under Nazi






impressive. However Wilson observed, “A swastika

These incidents combined lead him to believe that war
was not just a possibility, but an imminent reality.
Paradoxically, Charles Lindbergh, who was in Germany
just weeks before Wilson, did not reach the same
conclusion. Although both men found Germany highly
functioning and disciplined, Lindbergh believed America
needed to catch up to Germany’s strength—especially in
aviation. Wilson, too, believed the U.S. had a lot of
catching up to do, but he also thought we needed to


armband was a passport to indecency.” What Germany

prepare for war, particularly one which could involve an
aerial attack on U.S shores.


Gill Robb Wilson’s words to the National Aviation Forum,
February 20, 1939

1968, 274.

Wilson, Gill Robb, I Walked With Giants (Vantage Press)


Wilson, I Walked with Giants, 273


Ibid. 272


This difference between the two New Jersey aviators

Staff & Acknowledgements

came in part because Wilson was already open to the

National Commander
Maj Gen Joseph R. Vazquez

possibility that Germany could repeat the aggression of
the previous world war. He and the late Colonel William

Chief Historian
Col Frank A. Blazich Jr.

“Billy” Mitchell had been close friends. Mitchell would
come to be known as the father of the modern air force

National Historical Editor
Lt Col Richard B. Mulanax

because he had a vision of an air force that was far, far
ahead of his time. This conviction caused him to anger a

National Historical Journal Editor
Capt Kurt Efinger

lot of military leaders. Despite being court-martialed and
demoted, Mitchell never surrendered his beliefs.


ilson later recounted, “Jeez, we (Mitchell and I)
fought World War II over a hundred times,

before there ever was such a thing. Now we thought
that what would happen was that Germany would attack
Europe, as they did, and they would lick Europe, as they
did. But we figured that they would lick Britain too. Then
they would take their own navy, and the British Navy,
and in the combination of British shipping and their own,
that now they would proceed against the western world.
We thought they would land on the coast of the
Carolinas and Florida.”

Rattlesnake at a Picnic
Besides a few top leaders, such as Chief of the Army Air
Corps, Major General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, most
people believed the prospect of another war was
unthinkable, even ridiculous. Whereas hindsight tends to
make visionaries of us all, in the mid-to-late 1930s, most
folks weren’t worried about war, but about putting food
on the family table. America was still entrenched in the
Great Depression. The stock market crash of 1929
ushered in arguably the bleakest financial crisis in
American history. Half the banks across America failed.
Unemployment rose to approximately twenty-five to


thirty percent of the work force. In 1933 Franklin Delano
Roosevelt was inaugurated as President of the United

With these conversations in his head, and after putting
together the various pieces he had witnessed in
Germany, Wilson concluded immediate preparation for
another war was essential. He also had an idea of how

States. Almost immediately, he implemented a series of
relief programs that would be known collectively as The
New Deal. Recovery however, was slow and morale
remained fragile throughout the rest of the decade.

civilian aviators could help.


long with the Great Depression, the 1930s was a
time of reflection on the previous World War that

claimed roughly three-hundred-and-twenty-thousand
American lives. Looking back, people questioned, how

The Trustees of the Columbia University in the City of
New York, Oral History Research Office, Oral interview with Gill Robb
Wilson in February and May, 1960, page 25.

had we benefitted? Why did we enter someone else’s
conflict? Was the staggering loss worth it?

The popular conclusion was that the World War was

world - he persevered. Because military resources would

tragic, and we should be vigilant against getting

be sent abroad, he believed the creation of a civilian

entangled in another European conflict. It was in this

aerial defense corps was absolutely essential.

decade of despair and remorse that Wilson tried to stir
people into believing that we must prepare for war,
especially for war in the air.


hen he wasn’t flying, Wilson was working on
logistics. He estimated one hundred and thirty

licensed pilots in New Jersey would not qualify for the
In addition to advocating a stronger military, Wilson

military. As a friend to many female aviators, including

maintained civilian aviators could provide invaluable

his own wife and sister, he knew women would play a

help during an emergency. However, people were too

crucial role in a civilian corps. “Now if the statistical

exhausted to listen. Not only that, folks became angry

figures in New Jersey held approximately true for other

that he was stirring the pot - agitating for things easily

states, it was evident that a nationwide organization of

ignored. Wilson felt “as welcome as a rattlesnake at a

several thousand pilots and planes could be put together


Sunday School picnic.” He was derided as a warmonger,

for [an] emergency.”9

a moron and an aviation enthusiast.7 He would later
write: “Even among my closest friends, I couldn’t make


anyone believe that a civilized nation would deliberately

organization should be national, the most obvious locus

launch a war. That it was not only sure, but imminent

being the American Red Cross. In 1937, Wilson








was still less believable.” But what else can one do with

contacted Red Cross Chair, Admiral Cary T. Grayson,

a vision—a dream—that just won’t go away?

suggesting “the time was ripe for the Red Cross to utilize
civil aviation...valuable for emergency and disaster and

During his free time, Wilson began flying the coast of

cooperation with the armed forces in time of military

New Jersey to determine what was needed for coastal

crisis.”10 Admiral Grayson never responded.

defense. He quickly realized that patrolling the ocean
from a small airplane was harder than he assumed. Still,

After Grayson’s death in February of 1938, Wilson had a

with the words of the German officer in his head - your

personal interview with the new Red Cross Chair,

East Coast is the best submarine hunting ground in the

Norman Davis, and his staff. Wilson wrote that although
Mr. Davis appeared very interested at the time, no


Wilson, 276

action by the Red Cross was ever taken.


“I have been introduced by well-meaning men as a
famous aviation enthusiast. If they called me a son-of-a-bitch, they
couldn’t have offended me more! My enthusiasm isn’t for aviation, it
is for the objectives that can be accomplished through aviation.” Gill
Robb Wilson as reported by Richard Bach, p. 56 Flying Magazine
December 1966. Ziff-Davis Publishing.

Wilson, 276


Ibid., 276


Letter from Gill Robb Wilson to the Honorable Audley
H.F. Stephan, 21 August 1940. New Jersey State Archives. See full
letter in appendix.


For over two years, Wilson was as welcome as a

incorporated Relief Wings. However, it eventually

rattlesnake at a Sunday School picnic. Thankfully, others

became an adjunct relief service of CAP during the war.

were not afraid of becoming proverbial rattlesnakes

Nichols herself became a lieutenant colonel in the Civil


Air Patrol.11

Band of Brothers…and Sisters
In 1929, ninety-nine women pilots, including Amelia

The National Association of State Aviation Officials

Earhart, started a women’s flying club, aptly called the
Ninety-Nines. Although small in number, women fliers
were outspoken advocates for a national aerial defense
corps. Because women were denied military service,
serving domestically in paramilitary or support services

(NASAO) was founded in 1931 to promote local aviation.
Frank M. McKee of Ohio was the first president, followed
by Reed Landis. Because they were charged with
furthering general aviation, the members of the NASAO
were early advocates of civilian aerial defense programs
in their respective states.

would provide them an opportunity to serve, especially
as pilots.

Although new to the aviation scene - incorporated in
May 1939 - the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
(AOPA) wasted no time in helping with civilian defense
and pilot training. In summer 1940, it was reported,
“AOPA has agreed to set up a card index of pilots who
may volunteer for...service.”12 Drills were then set up
throughout the nation in conjunction with Relief Wings.
Soon thereafter, the AOPA created the AOPA Air Guard,
training men to military standards. “This plan, if it goes
into effect will have the ultimate effect of a civilian air

Women taking the CAP oath of membership. Photo: CAP
National Archives

One of the Ninety-Nines, Ruth Nichols, created Relief
Wings, an air service dedicated to disaster relief and
medical missions. With the backing of both the religious
and aviation communities, Relief Wings was, according
to the New York Times, “a coordinating agency for


By late fall, the AOPA reported, “graduates of AOPA’s Air
Guard courses are now participating in Army maneuvers.
Air Guardsmen now are proving AOPA’s contention that
the experienced nonsked is an important element in
national defense and that, with the military orientation

disaster relief, enrolling volunteer pilots, aircraft owners,

airline officers, surgeons, nurses and amateur radio
operators, and cooperating with the American Red
Cross, government forces and sources of emergency
supply.”17 The American Red Cross never fully;


Flying and Popular Aviation, Ziff-Davis Publishing
Company, Chicago, IL. August, 1940, page 49

Ibid., 50


courses given through the Air Guard, these experienced

Because he was one of the earliest promoters of a

pilots can become the backbone of our home

general aviation defense corps, Wilson used his NAA

defense.”14 Although some eventually joined the Civil Air

office to promote the cause nationally.

Patrol, most qualified members of the AOPA Guard went
on to serve in the military.

Federally, there was some movement to further the


eanwhile, in 1939, German forces invaded
Poland. Britain, France and Australia declared

war on Germany. Days later the United States

cause. Milton Knight of Toledo, Ohio, chaired the newly

announced its neutrality, with Congress passing an



increasingly strident Neutrality Act. The summer of 1940

subcommittee was under the jurisdiction of the Civil

started what German U-boat crews named their “Happy

Aeronautics Authority (CAA), forerunner of the Federal

Time,” in which they sunk approximately 1,400,000 tons

Aviation Administration. Frank Tichenor, CAA Chair, who

of Allied shipping from June through October alone.16

supported Knight, sought Army and Navy cooperation.

Despite mounting losses, the United States did not

Even though he was optimistic about receiving it, as of

consider U-Boats a serious threat. While the Germans

the end of 1940, it was not forthcoming, thereby stalling

reigned victorious during their Happy Time, attempts to

the forward movement of a centralized Civil Air

create a unified civilian air defense failed.







The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is the oldest

Letters to the Editor

national aviation organization in the United States.
Founded in 1905 as the Aero Club of America by leading
businessmen eager to promote the new technology of
powered flight, it was a powerful organization in which
scattered people interested in aviation could convene to
promote their united cause. However, the NAA had
begun to decline in the latter 1930s. In January, 1940,
the NAA elected leadership with the ability to carry out
their updated mission. Whereas Gill Robb Wilson was at
home sick in bed, he was elected President of the
National Aeronautic Association.


The Editor at the CAP NHJ welcomes your comments
and feedback. Please submit letters for review by
emailing the editor at the address provided. All
comments will be reviewed by the entire editorial
staff prior to publication. The CAP NHJ Editorial Staff
reserves the right to refuse publication to any
member based on the content of the letter. CAP
members are encouraged to maintain a professional,
and collegial attitude when submitting

Flying and Popular Aviation November 1940, p. 45.


National Aeronautics Magazine, January 1941; p. 24.

Hickam, Homer, Torpedo Junction (Naval Institute Press,

1989), 2


Keep Us Out Of War
On October 5, 1937, in Chicago – the heart of isolationist

should the United States declare war on Germany and

sentiment - President Roosevelt gave his Quarantine

polled said “yes.”19

send our army and navy to fight?” Only 23% of American

Speech. Using the analogy of a physical epidemic being
contained through quarantine, the President said the
epidemic of world lawlessness and aggression should
similarly be quarantined.

Out of fierce dedication to American neutrality, an
isolationist organization called the America First
Committee was formed. Its ranks swelled to 800,000
members in 650 chapters. Its leading principle was that

Although his speech recommended no particular military
action, the response was severe. A Gallup poll showed
that nearly 70% of Americans – and higher in the
Midwest - wanted Congress to pass stricter neutrality

laws. The numbers were even higher when Americans
were asked if we should take part in another world war:
95% responded “NO”.18


American democracy could be preserved only by
keeping out of the European war, including providing
any aid short of war. Charles Lindbergh, the man who
made the first trans-Atlantic flight, was its most famous
crusader. Ironically, Lindbergh and Gill Robb Wilson had
been friends; however, their outspoken and polemic
views during this time created a riff that never
completely healed.

ven after Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938,
when in Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland,

Jewish property and synagogues were destroyed and
thousands of Jewish citizens sent to concentration
camps, America maintained even more strident
neutrality. In fact, the U.S. Congress passed neutrality
acts in 1935, 1936, 1937 and finally in November 1939.
The President tried to lessen each successive act,
angering both Congress and the majority of the people.

Charles Lindbergh, on behalf of America First, said:
It is difficult to think clearly amidst the
contradictory advice of columnists, the claims and
counter claims of propaganda, the blind selfishness
of party politics. The conservative who scoffed at
aviation yesterday has become the radical who says
that tomorrow we will be invaded by (European)
aircraft. No one wishes to attack us, and no one is in
a position to do so.20

But the American stance toward neither investing in nor

A few months later, in August, 1940, Lindbergh urged

preparing for war remained firm.

avoidance of war even to the point of cooperating with
Germany if it was victorious.21 In such a divisive and

In a February, 1940 Gallup poll, when asked, “If it

tense climate, our nation faced difficulty in creating a

appears that Germany is defeating England and France,

civilian aerial defense corps.


Los Angeles Times, October 10, 1937, “Neutrality
Favored as Best Hope of Peace,” as reported in 1940: FDR, Wilkie,
Lindbergh, Hitler - The Election Amid the Storm, by Susan Dunn; Yale
University Press, 24.

Dunn, 1940, 24.

New York Times, February 21, 1940, War Between U.S. and
Germany is Opposed In Any Circumstance, Gallup Test Finds; p. 6.

“The Air Defense of America” by Charles Lindbergh
broadcast over the Mutual Broadcasting System, May 19, 1940.

New York Times, August 5, 1940, p.1


States Organize
With domestic discord and an ensuing convoluted
foreign policy, local aviators decided to act on their own.
In Colorado, the Denver Pilots Club requested Governor
Ralph L. Carr to approve the Home Air Guard. Although
Governor Carr was skeptical because of cost, he was
assured state financing would be limited to fuel, and that
the air guard was in line with the defense program of the
NAA.22 Eventually, this group took flight as the state’s
Civil Air Reserve under the auspices of the Colorado
Defense Force.23


fter years of meeting and training unofficially, Gill
Robb Wilson decided to make New Jersey’s civilian

air defense service official. In a letter to Governor
Edison, Wilson’s original premise in part read:
The establishment of a Civil Air Guard is purely
voluntary, without expense to the state and without
any complicated machinery to make it other than
what it is: a useful instrument to employ the
capacity of willing and able Americans to serve the
state and nation within the limitation of their civil
status...please note, the establishment suggested in
this memorandum could be expanded or
contracted to meet the conditions of any state. 24

Although the Florida Defense Force was not formally

Local aviators were doing their part. The NAA was acting

recognized for a year, it was mustered quickly into

as a clearinghouse and support for various state

service due to its vulnerable and extensive coastline. Its

programs. However, their efforts weren’t enough. A

commander was Captain Wright Vermilya, Jr., a national

single, comprehensive and unified patrol was needed.

councilor for NAA as well as an early advocate of the

Unfortunately, by the start of 1941, there was still not

CAA’s Civil Air Reserve plan. As was common in the early

enough support to form a national organization. In May,

years, members of the Florida Defense Force flew their

1941, Frank Bane, the director of the Office for

own planes on missions.

Emergency Management’s division of State and local
cooperation, directed all state and local councils to

A similar unit was formed by Milton Knight in Toledo,

register aircraft spotters.25 Ironically, volunteers were

Ohio. As the Ohio Bureau of Aeronautics Director, Earle

mobilized nationally to look at the skies, yet not defend

Johnson provided the necessary oversight. Earle Johnson

the skies.

would later become the first commander of the Ohio

Editor's Note: The Civil air Patrol National


Historical Journal continues to receive quality
submissions from across the CAP community,
and appreciates the continued support of its
members. Please adhere to the guidelines
specified in the journal with regard to format,
content, and review.







Commander. Knight was eventually asked to work on a
national civil air reserve under the Department of
Commerce. As mentioned earlier, Knight’s program
lacked the appropriate military support.


National Aeronautics Magazine, a publication of the NAA,
p. 20, January, 1941.

National Aeronautics, p. 25 September, 1941.


Memo from Gill Robb Wilson to Governor Edison, NJ
State Archives, Trenton, NJ. See full text in appendix.

New York Times May 15, 1941 p. 28


The Office of Civilian Defense
On May 20, 1941, President Roosevelt signed executive

member of the NAA. All three men were known for their
outspoken support of civilian aerial defense.

order number 8757 establishing the Office of Civilian
Defense (OCD). New York City Mayor Fiorello H.
LaGuardia was appointed Director. Within a month of
the formation of the OCD, LaGuardia called on Wilson,
Thomas Beck of Wilton, Connecticut, and Guy P. Gannett
of Portland, Maine, to help organize civilian aviation


Because these men were colleagues, the blueprint for
the Civil Air Patrol - based on Wilson’s New Jersey plan was ready for adoption after the first meeting. In fact,
the New York Times reported that “the organization of
the civilian fliers of the United States into a defense
auxiliary is rapidly under way.”29 But months passed and
the plan went nowhere.

Thomas H. Beck, nicknamed “the Flying Editor,” was the
president of Crowell-Collier Publishing Company, known
for its popular Collier’s magazines. Collier’s readership
was estimated to be in the millions. He was also the
1940 director of the National Aviation Forum and an
active member of the National Aeronautic Association.
Beck had worked with the President to create the New
Deal program of wildlife restoration.27 In April, he took
Wilson’s plan of a civil air guard to President Roosevelt,
but he heard nothing in response. Guy P. Gannett—also
a publisher—was the president and founder of the Guy
Gannett Publishing Company of Maine. His company
owned five newspapers, two radio stations and a


ilson figured there were two reasons for the
hold up. The first was the military’s reluctance

to allow civilians in the job of defense. In a 1940 letter to
Audley Stephan, he wrote:
During the past several months it has become more
and more evident and it is inevitable that the
activities of civil aviation will be curtailed in the
interest of military aviation. The blindness and
stupidity of [certain military leaders] regarding
aviation as having little more than a nuisance value
now rebounds to the great disadvantage of our
national defense and our civil air growth. However,
that is water over the dam and we must proceed to
make the best uses possible of what we have.

television station. Gannett also held a private pilot
license. He was eventually named the first Maine Wing
Commander with the rank of lieutenant colonel in the
Civil Air Patrol.28 Like Beck and Wilson, Gannett was a

That resistance didn’t fade quickly. When CAP started
flying in March, 1942, Navy Admiral Ernest King,
Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, was still
resistant. When Vice Admiral Andrews, Commander of
the Eastern Sea Frontier, advised an aerial “scarecrow


New York Times June 14, 1941 p. 9


Giese, Michael, “A Federal Foundation for Wildlife
Conservation: The Evolution of the National Wildlife Refuge System,
1920-1968” (American University, 2008), 124.

patrol” could force U-boats underwater, King and his
staff stated the patrol only existed to line the pockets of
the general aircraft industry. Worse, ships might become


New York Times, April 25, 1954; p.86 Gannett obituary

New York Times June 23, 1941 p. 15.


Appendix, 16.


complacent in the erroneous belief that civilian aviators

public support for air power and its needed funding.33

could actually provide a competent patrol. Lastly, to

Perhaps personal politics delayed the advent of a civilian

further entrench his negative views, King maintained

aerial patrol, but regardless of the cause, time was

amateur fliers would require ongoing military rescue,

running out.

and the Navy can’t afford to waste its valuable resources
on such a frivolous civilian venture.31

Finally, in October, 1941, Director LaGuardia requested
New Jersey Governor Edison to allow Gill Robb Wilson


he Navy was reticent, but many in the Army Air

“to devote practically full time to aviation program

Forces were supportive. Major General Carl

important to civil defense.”34 Soon thereafter, Wilson

“Tooey” Spaatz helped persuade the Navy that civilians

headed to Washington, D.C. to build what would

could enhance domestic security. Decades later, General

become the Civil Air Patrol.

Spaatz became the CAP board Chair, and the highest
Cadet award is named in his honor.

General Henry

“Hap” Arnold was a strong advocate of a civilian aerial
auxiliary. However Wilson later surmised Arnold’s
support hindered progress: “For some reason I never
clearly understood, Hap was in high disfavor at the
White House. He had provided me with a letter
approving the establishment of a civilian air cadre for

DuPont Circle, Washington, D.C.
The DuPont Circle Building, 1346 Connecticut Avenue,
was flat fronted and tall - at least by Washington, D.C.
standards. Built a decade earlier by architect Mihran
Mesrobian, it was chosen as the headquarters of the
Office of Civilian Defense. The Civil Air Patrol moved into
room 1011.

emergency service and had set forth the particular
functions it could serve. Further than that he dared not

The only other staff assigned the Civil Air Patrol besides
Wilson was a federal secretary on temporary loan. She


was not a pilot, but she certainly was a navigator,
It has since been revealed that Arnold had no qualms
about undermining the President if he thought it would
strengthen the Army Air Forces. Arnold went so far as

guiding aviators through the bureaucratic morass of the
national government,35 made even more formidable by
the approaching war.

leaking the top secret White House document outlining
the contingency plan for full war against Germany.
Revealing the likelihood of combat, he sought to arouse


Olson, Lynne, Those Angry Days; Roosevelt, Lindbergh,
and America’s Fight Over World War II (Random House Publishing,
New York 2013) locations 180 & 185.


Gannon, Michael, Operation Drumbeat: Germany’s UBoat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II, Location

Wilson, I Walked With Giants, 281

Telegram from Fiorello LaGuardia to Charles Edison,
October 7, 1941. Full texts of telegrams are in the Appendix

The name of the first CAP secretary has been lost to
history. However, the initials LH appear in many of the first CAP



eed Landis, Director LaGuardia’s Aviation Aide,

Playford, Helen Rough, Cecile Hamilton and Richard

was frequently in room 1011. Prior to this

Depew. Colonel Harry H. Blee, retired from the Army Air

assignment, Landis was a flier in the war, an active

Corps, was asked to chair the committee. Blee had an

member of the American Legion, a state aviation

extensive civilian aviation background, and thus went on

director and a Chicago businessman. As the OCD

to become CAP’s first Operations Officer and eventually

Aviation Aide, he was intimately involved with the

Deputy Commander.

creation of CAP. Ironically, according to Wilson, Landis
was assigned by LaGuardia “to ride herd on us.” But

Since most civilians joining CAP lacked military training,

since Landis and Wilson had been friends since WWI

education for volunteers included military courtesy, and

days—including each serving as president of the

discipline, drill, and the basic organization of each

National Association of State Aviation Officials—

military branch, as well as the OCD. In addition,


defensive training relevant to CAP’s mission was







mitigated.36 Still, the job of creating a national program







from scratch was enormous. Where to begin?

procedure, and first aid.

The priorities were to: develop a standardized national

Command Staff
An early priority was the selection of the command staff,

training program; create uniforms and insignia, and an
application process; provide communications, publicity
and security; and finally, choose the CAP leadership. To
top it all off, the staff and budget were minuscule and

especially Wing Commanders. General Arnold was
responsible for appointing a national commander. He
chose Army General John F. Curry, who assumed the
role in December 1941.

the timeline even smaller. No wonder the lights in room
1011 burned well into the night.








commanders could only come through the National
Although the myriad aspects of building a behemoth

Commander, their selection was up to Wilson. Relying

national program in a meager amount of time were all
vital, perhaps the most crucial element was the
development of a standardized training program. For
that, a committee was formed which included various
governmental representatives as well as civilian aviators:
Casey Jones, Roscoe Turner, Grove Webster, Harry

Editor’s Note
Th e v i ew s e x pr es s ed i n t h e Ci v i l A ir Pat ro l
Nati o na l H is tor i ca l J o u rna l a r e th os e of th e
a uth o rs o nl y a nd do no t r e fl ect t h e of f icia l
pol icy o r pos it io n o f t h e Jou r na l S ta ff ,
Edi to r ia l Boa r d, t h e C i vil Ai r Pa t rol , it s
of fic e rs o r m em b e rs , n or th e U ni t ed Sta t es
Ai r F o rc e.


Wilson, I Walked with Giants, 282. On that page he also
said that because they didn’t live in Washington, Landis and he
bunked together, most likely at the Mayflower Hostel, home of the


January 27, 1942, Office of Civilian Defense Civil Air
Patrol memo to all wing commanders.


heavily on state aviation directors for their input, he

wanted to make sure CAP was created with national

chose a slate of local aviators to receive the following

authority; i.e., from the top down. Though he and


Wilson were friends, they were also political opposites:



LaGuardia, a Democrat, believed national, centralized


authority was optimal; whereas, Wilson, a Republican,


Even though LaGuardia insisted state leaders were not


believed local, de-centralized authority was more
efficient. LaGuardia was the OCD boss, so he made the
rules. However, CAP was Wilson’s baby, so he bent
LaGuardia’s rules.

to be consulted in the creation of CAP, Wilson invited
them to the NAA headquarters, less than half a mile

After these initial telegrams were sent, twenty-two of
the twenty- eight recipients accepted and five were
unavailable, though some endorsed others for the

from the DuPont Circle Building, where CAP interviews
and conversations were held surreptitiously. Because of
local input from the very beginning, state leaders
supported the new program and spread the news of its
potential in their communities.

Once the Wing Commander selection was eventually
completed, their resumes were compiled and sent to
their respective Governors, so that publicity could be
generated by each state as soon as CAP became official.
As if communicating the progress and goals of a new
national organization wasn’t tough enough, OCD
Director LaGuardia created an even greater challenge by
monitoring the daily phone log and all letters generated
by room 1011. Nothing extraneous was tolerated. In
addition to insuring costs were kept in check, LaGuardia


All subsequent letters from room 1011 have been
reproduced at the National Archives and Records Administration,
College Park, MD


See Appendix for original list of Wing Commander

During those first several weeks at DuPont Circle,
correspondence was voluminous. People inquired about
job prospects, volunteer opportunities and offered ideas
on how the new program should be run.40 A frequent
theme of these letters was various groups asking if CAP
could use their service. The response to each group was
the same:
Beyond a doubt there will be a need for service
such as is rendered by groups similar to yours.
However, the Civil Air Patrol must essentially be a
national organization to be thoroughly effective.
No organization will be affiliated with the Civil Air
Patrol, but enlistment is open to individual


See correspondence in appendix


Judging by some of the letters proceeding from room
1011, including one sent on November 10th, the original
timeline was not achieved: organization to be known as the Civil Air Patrol
is now in process of formation. It is hoped that
public announcement can be made within the next
week or ten days. Such announcement is
dependent upon the publication of our book
concerning the Civil Air Patrol.41

Reed Landis wrote:
Major LaGuardia believes we should endeavor to
secure a distinctive uniform for CAP rather than
copy the Army, the Navy or other existing service. It
is suggested that you proceed to have a sample
uniform made up by some potential supplier
utilizing a blue or blue-gray color and material.
Wilson persisted in campaigning for affordability and
availability. In a memo back to Landis, Wilson outlined

Regrettably, the government printing presses were

the need for a khaki uniform, requesting, “the work of

overloaded. Announcement about the Civil Air Patrol

the Civil Air Patrol must progress without any delays due

was thus not quickly forthcoming, even after the

to unnecessary details.”43 The Khaki uniform was

Executive Order creating it was signed. In some places,

adopted. CAP insignia for both people and airplanes was

the official CAP book was not

chosen more rapidly and without

obtainable until the New Year.


However, because so many local
Security was an aspect of the Civil Air

leaders had been brought into its
planning process through discreet

Patrol no one dared overlook. The

visits to the NAA, word of mouth

possibility of traitorous fliers serving

helped propel the Civil Air Patrol’s

under the new organization threatened

early popularity. The general aviation



not only the fledgling CAP but general


American interests as well.

awaiting such an organization.

On November 21, Director LaGuardia

Uniforms needed to be chosen, and Gill Robb Wilson in CAP uniform in Newark,


New Jersey, 1942. Used with permission by
since Wilson was in charge, the Jill Paulson

five-thousand National Defense Finger


decision was his. But he believed only insignia was

Print Cards from the FBI. He added, “You will be notified

needed. He was vetoed. Wilson then requested the main

at least a week in advance as to the date the cards are

consideration for uniforms was that they were readily

required. We hope this will be prior to the first of

available and cheap.42 He was vetoed again.

December.” Due to the frenetic pace of our nation’s




See Uniform recommendations and justification dated
November 21, 1941 in appendix.


See Uniform recommendations dated November 12,
1941 in appendix.


See insignia recommendations in memo dated November

21, 1941.


capital in the early days of December, the fingerprint

Executive Order 8757, dated 20 May 1941. That order

cards and applications were not ready until weeks later.

was not issued publicly until December 8, 1941, and

read as follows:
It Begins
On December 1, 1941, Director of Civilian Defense
Fiorello La Guardia established the Civil Air Patrol as a
division of the Office of Civilian Defense. 45 On that date,
he prepared a memo to all persons in civilian aviation:
Office of Civilian Defense
Washington, D.C.
December 1, 1941
To the end that opportunity for voluntary service by
especially qualified citizens may be provided, in line
with the traditions of this Nation, and pursuant to
the authority conferred upon me as the United
States Director of Civilian Defense, by Executive
order of the President of the United States, I do
hereby order established under the Office of
Civilian Defense, the Civil Air Patrol. The
organization will be formed and conducted as
provided in the attached chart,46 which is hereby
I have appointed Major General John F. Curry, Air
Corps, as National Commander, CAP.
I call upon all persons in civil aviation to enroll and
otherwise assist in this important contribution to
our national defense.

On 1 Dec 1941, Mr. La Guardia also signed Office of Civil


By virtue of the authority vested in me through my
appointment as United States Director of the Office
of Civilian Defense, through the Executive Order of
the President creating said Office, dated May 20,
1941. I have caused to be created and organized a
branch of this Office of volunteers for the purpose
of enlisting and training personnel to aid in the
national defense of the United States, designated as
the Civil Air Patrol.
In conformity with said organization, Major General
John F. Curry, U.S.A. Air Corps has been assigned to
this office by the U.S. Army and designated by me
as its National Commander. Said organization shall
be formed as outlined in the attached chart, which
is made a part of this Order as if written herein in
full. The Civil Air Patrol shall carry out such Orders
and directives as are issued to it by the Director of
Civilian Defense. It shall be the duty and
responsibility of the National Commander to see
that the objectives and purposes and orders issued
in conformity with the policy of this office are
carried out and that all activities are reported
regularly to the Director through the Aviation Aide.
All enlistment’s and appointments in the Civil Air
Patrol may be disapproved by the Director of the
Office of Civilian Defense.

F.H. LaGuardia,
U.S. Director of Civilian Defense


December 1, 1941
Administrative Order No.9
Establishing Civil Air Patrol




F.H. LaGuardia,
U.S. Director of Civilian Defense

establishing the Civil Air Patrol based on the authority of

Blazich, Frank, “Civil Air Patrol Congressional Gold Medal
Fact Sheet,” Organizational Background Information.

See original organizational chart in appendix


Although signed on 1 Dec, 1941, the date the Civil Air
Patrol became operational, OCD Administrative Order No. 9 was not
publicly announced until 8 Dec, 1941. See US Government Manual ,
1945, First Edition, Appendix A, p. 31, Civil Air Patrol (Office of Civilian
Defense). For the organizational chart attached to OCD
Administrative Order No. 9, see the Appendix to this article.


Friday, December 5, Willard M. Fletcher received a

The power of a dream—especially a dream relentlessly

confidential letter from CAP headquarters:

pursued—can change the course of history. The Civil Air

Detail of organization of the Civil Air Patrol is about
completed. Our National Commander has been
appointed, the book has gone to press, and a
national announcement will be made as soon as the
Government Printing Office is ready to mail books,
applications and finger print cards.48

Patrol continues today as a legacy of our forerunners’
perseverance and commitment to America.
Jill Robb Paulson is an author, minister, CAP chaplain, and
granddaughter of G. Robb Wilson.

Although moving at breakneck speed, all the necessary
details were not completed before Japan bombed
America two days later.

On December 8, President Roosevelt addressed the
nation: “I ask that the Congress declare that, since the
unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday,
December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between
the United States and the Japanese Empire.”49 On
December 11, the President declared war on Germany.
It was, unfortunately, as Wilson feared five years earlier:
America was at war. But unlike the First World War, this
time civilian aviation could play a significant role. Still,
this war would be even more costly than the last,
claiming almost half-a-million U.S. casualties,50 including
twenty-six members of the Civil Air Patrol.
The CAP Story Continues
As soon as CAP was created, thousands of citizens
stepped up to serve. Seventy-five years later, thousands
of patriotic volunteers still serve. No one ever said it was
going to be easy. It wasn’t.


Call for Submissions
The Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal (NHJ)
welcomes articles, essays, and commentaries not
exceeding 2,000 words on any topic relating to the history
of the Civil Air Patrol, or military/civilian aviation history.
CAP’s history extends to the present day, and the NHJ
seeks accounts of on-going activities and missions, as well
as those of earlier years.
All historiographical works and essays must be submitted
in Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), or they will be rejected
unless otherwise permitted for special purposes. We
encourage authors to submit digital photographs (minimal
resolution of 300 dots per inch) and illustrations for
publication. All content should be the work of the author or
open source. Adjustments to pixel saturation, color and
size will be made according to the editorials staff’s
recommendations. Please note that when submitted to the
editor at the Civil Air Patrol National Historical Journal, all
works and related media are released from copyright
infringements if published.
Editorial changes are at the sole discretion of the editorial
staff, but will be discussed with the author prior to
publication, and require a signed release from the author.
The CAP NHJ editorial staff reserves the right to
refuse any work submitted. All submissions must be
sent as MS Word attachments and mailed to the
editor at

See booklet/application in Appendix


The President’s Message as reprinted in the New York
Times, December 9, 1941.
50 Official count is 418,500




August 21, 1940
The Honorable Audley H.F. Stephan
Chairman, New Jersey Defense Council
Trenton, New Jersey

My dear Major Stephan:
Following my return from Germany where I had gone on the Hindenburg for the purpose of studying German
air development and where I had very courteously been shown everything that Germany was doing in the air, I
realized that the inevitable resent conflict would develop. I then wrote to the late Admiral Grayson, who was
president of the American Red Cross, suggesting to him that that time was ripe for the American Red Cross to
utilized civil aviation so that they would have builded up a background of experience with the aircraft, which
experience would be valuable for emergency and disaster and cooperation with the armed forces in time of military
I felt that the Red Cross should establish standards of pilot training and make research in those forms of
equipment which could be utilized. I refer to rubberized packages for waterproofing parachutes designed for the
dropping of all sorts of materials, rubber life rafts, aluminum stretchers which would be light in weight and a great
host of other such material.
I never received an answer from admiral Grayson or from the American Red Cross.
About a year ago I again approached the Red Cross through a personal interview with Mr. Norman Davis, and
several other members of the office staff. Mr. Davis appeared to be very interested but time has passed and to the
best of my knowledge no program of this kind has been instituted by the American Red Cross.
Now, several days ago the director of the Red Cross for the New Brunswick, New Jersey, area, called me and
wanted to know what I could do to assist him to secure the services of a competent pilot and a civil aircraft to be a
part of the component organization of that area incase of emergency or disaster. You are familiar with the ordnance
located in that area and in view of possible sabotage, you can understand his concern.


I will choose several pilots and owners of aircraft, put them in touch with this local chairman and have them go to
work with him, but this does not solve the larger problem and is only an example of the kind of thing that should be
established on a nation-wide basis.
During the past several months it has become more and more evident and it is inevitable that the activities of civil
aviation will be curtailed in the interest of military aviation, because this nation is so far behind in its air facilities,
both civil and military, that there will not be room for both on the present facilities and there is insufficient time to
develop military facilities. The blindness and stupidity of regarding aviation as having little more than a nuisance
value now rebounds to the great disadvantage of our national defense and our civil air growth. However, that is
water over the dam and we must proceed to make the best uses possible of what we have.
Now there are numbers of thoroughly capable pilots who are not and could not be utilized in the military service.
Most of these men have intimate knowledge of the terrain surrounding the places they are located. They are eager
to do anything in their power and to utilize their experience for the national defense, but they do not know how to
proceed. No constituted agency of government has given them any light on the subject nor offered them any
opportunity. Many of them write to me asking how they might help and feeling rather chagrined that their long
experience is not being utilized or recognized in any way.
Now it might be that the State Defense Councils could organize in each state a corps of these men specifying a
certain training procedure which would be valuable in observation patrols or the ferrying of executives and in many
other ways. It would take some time to authenticate the thorough American background of these men and to train
them for specific work. much of this training would be observation and I can assure you that an untrained observer
is no good in the air.
If military operations actually come against an enemy, all civil aviation in any given area would have to be curbed
because a man aloft in an airplane could too easily serve enemy purposes if he were so inclined. Yet in cases of such
necessity men so trained could do a great deal to supplement the activities of the military establishment especially
in carrying messages and persons and in furnishing information. If such a corps is established, it would receive the
full cooperation of civil aviation. Aircraft could carry the specific designation and pilots the proper credential of the
several state Defense Councils.
I do not want to set up any organization in New Jersey or elsewhere unless it has a specific utility, a specific program
and thorough cooperation and understanding and endorsement of the military services and the American Red
Cross. Up until the past several years our military air establishment has shown an utter lack of either appreciation or
understanding of the possibilities of utilization of civil aviation. The fact that our civil schools have been able to turn
out at a fraction of the cost just as well trained pilots was the military schools was apparently astonishing news to
the heads of our military establishment.
The fact that civil aviation may now be of tremendous assistance may also be astonishing news to them and I have
no idea how they will react. They are, nevertheless, responsible now for our national security and I would be
unwilling to move unless what I propose has their full understanding and endorsement.
If the National Defense Council, which is presumably coordinating the activities of various state Defense Councils,
think there is merit in what I suggest, it is then their responsibility to clear this matter through the service channels
and secure the approval. If this approval is secured, I will then, as president of the National Aeronautic Association,
call in the key men from the various states, have them go to work in the establishment of such civil assistance as the
various state Defense Councils would desire, and I can assure you that within a space of three months we can have a


program set up in every state in the Union in the hands of civil air men who are not eligible for military service, and
whose patriotism is beyond question.
These men could clear through channels of the State Councils to the General Council in Washington or they could
clear directly to a national coordinator who would have access to the military establishment.
The National Aeronautic Association is directed by men practically all of whom have long military experience in
addition to their civil experience, and we can do a magnificent job if it is desired, but before such a thing is
attempted we would have to know that the set-up was thoroughly understood and would be watched and advised
by the Army Air Corps and the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, and that the plans for such a corps tied in with the Red
There will be many crack-pot ideas advanced, most of which will be at cross purposes and would complicate rather
than simplify the national defense problem. However, much I believe this plan is simple, sound and in the American
tradition, I still only put it forward as a possible helpful suggestion. I have no pride in the authorship of it although I
believe it is sound judgment.
If you would like to have New Jersey undertake it as a trial balloon, I would be glad to organize such a unit but if it is
worth doing it is worth doing on a national basis and for that job, the NAA is the one national organization in which
is represented everybody and every thing that has to do with civil aviation in America.
Gill Robb Wilson
State Director of Aviation and
President, National Aeronautic Association

March 24, 1941
To: His Excellency, Charles Edison
From: Gill Robb Wilson, State Director of Aviation
Subject: Formation of a Civil Air Guard
In the state of New Jersey there are a great number of civil pilots who by one reason or another are ineligible for
military service. Many of them are owners of aircraft and a great number of them are eager to employ their aviation
experience on a voluntary basis in the service of the state or nation from the standpoint of national defense. There
may come a time when it will be necessary to place stringent restriction on the use of civil aircraft, particularly in
specific areas. New Jersey will undoubtedly be one of those areas.
It is my thought that the formation of a New Jersey Civil Air Guard might be a very wise ad constructive move.
- The name of the organization would be the Civil Air Guard of New Jersey.
- It should be the function of the commander of the Civil Air Guard, in cooperation with the Advisory Board, to lay
out organization plans, bring into creation the various units of the Civil Air Guard and to supervise the training and
operation of the various units.


- No member shall be enrolled in the Civil Air Guard who is not a citizen of the United States.
- Each duly qualified member of the Civil Air Guard shall be presented with a brevet consisting of the winged shield
of the state of New Jersey, an overseas cap bearing the legend “Civil Air Guard of New Jersey”, and an identification
- Any registered civil aircraft when flown by a member of the Civil Air Guard, while engaged in duties connected with
the Civil Air Guard, shall carry a distinguishing pennon or other designation identifying it as being on Civil Air Guard
Function of the Civil Air Guard
a. The members of the Civil Air Guard shall engaged in training to thoroughly familiarized themselves with the
areas over which they are designated by the orders of the commander of the Civil Air Guard of New Jersey to
operate, and shall keep files on this information.
b. They shall prepare themselves to furnish any and all information concerning the industry, highways, available
landing areas, docking facilities and other physical aspects of the area.
c. They shall map out potential emergency landing areas and where unimportant changes may be made in
the terrain. They shall exercise their best efforts to have such changes made in order that the number of
designated fields for potential emergency use may be increased.
d. Each member shall engage in training with the view to becoming an expert on the observation of ground
conditions, traffic movements and such other details as will be valuable.
e. Each member shall prepare to furnish air transportation for personnel, messages or material when called
upon for such service by any duly constituted civil or military authority within the state of New Jersey, the
request for such service coming through the command channels of the Civil Air Guard.
f. Each member shall accept responsibility for taking a course in first aid under the supervision of the
American Red Cross, the State Police or other constituted and recognized authority.
g. Each member of the Civil Air Guard shall agree to engage in a minimum of five hours of flight training per
month under the direction of the unit Commander and a minimum of ten hours per month in study of
navigation, meteorology, aircraft and engine maintenance and air traffic regulations as found in the texts of the
Civil Aeronautics Administration for ground school training.
The Governor will observe that the establishment of a Civil Air Guard is purely voluntary, without expense to the
state and without any complicated machinery to make it other than what it is: a simple and useful instrument to
employ the capacity of willing and able Americans to serve the state and nation within the limitation of their civil
The establishment suggested in this memorandum is one which might be utilized in any state and extensions or
amplifications of the establishment herein suggested could be expanded or contracted to meet the conditions of
any state.


To: His Excellency, Charles Edison
From: Gill Robb Wilson, State Director of Aviation
March 27, 1941
Following your perusal of the brief material I submitted on the formation of a Civil Air Guard, you need not trouble
further than to give me a green or red light, with the exception that I would appreciate a letter to the State Defense
Council advising of your approval or disapproval. I simply do not want to burden you with the details of my job
except that I want to be sure before I plunge ahead that I am doing exactly what you want me to do. Speed is
essential because the New Jersey pattern is to be used as the national pattern.
Gill Robb Wilson,
State Director of Aviation

October 7, 1941

Western Union



At the same time he enclosed a copy with a note to his Director of Aviation

Dear Gill,
I sent a telegram to Mr. LaGuardia today, copy of which is enclosed, which I think is self-explanatory.

A few days later, a letter arrived at the Governor’s office.
Office of Civilian Defense
Washington, D.C.
October 20, 1941
My dear Governor Edison:
I appreciate the fine, cooperative spirit which prompted your telegram of October 17th advising that you were
making available on a temporary basis the services of Gill Robb Wilson in connections with our aviation program.
Please accept my very sincere personal regards.
Cordially yours,
F.H. LaGuardia
U.S. Director of Civilian Defense

State of New Jersey, Department of Aviation, Gill Robb Wilson, Director
October 21, 1941
His Excellency, Charles Edison
Dear Chief:

Thanks for the telegram to La Guardia. This idea of the organization of the civil air resources of the nation for
national defense was first proposed more than a year ago when a plan which is substantially the same as the one
now being put into operation was forwarded by this department to our State Defense Council, which in turn
endorsed the plan and forwarded it to Washington.


New Jersey, as far as I have observed, has made a great record in cooperation with the President in the
furtherance of civil defense plans. I naturally feel some responsibility for helping get the national plan going
although, of course, not the least interested in working in Washington or having any more jobs.
I’ll go to Washington and be very happy to work without compensation all the time I can give to helping set up
the civil air patrol. Just as soon as it gets set up and I have made my ultimate in contribution, I’ll resign if they don’t
throw me out before hand.
As always,
Gill Robb Wilson
Original Wing Commander Candidates Contacted
Harold Wood, Birmingham, AL
Thomas Lockhart, Hartford, CT
Wright Vermilya, Jr., West Palm Beach, FL
A.H. Near, Louisville, KY
George Viehman, Basking Ridge, NJ
Col George Vaughn, V.P. Casey Jones School of Aeronautics, Newark, NJ*
Earle Johnson, Columbus, OH
Leo G. Devaney, Portland, OR
Jack Vilas, Chicago, IL
Roscoe Turner, Indianapolis, IN
Guy P. Gannett, Portland, ME
Moss Patterson, Oklahoma City, OK
John Quinn, New Cumberland, {A
Dexter Martin, Nashville, TN
Herbert Fox, Nashville, TN
David Giltinan, Charleston, WV
Winship Nunnally, Atlanta, GA
Daniel C. Hunter, Cedar Rapids, IA
Sheldon R. Steers, Lansing, MI
Stanley E. Hubbard, St. Paul, MN
Fred Sheriff, Helena, MT
I.V. Packard, Lincoln, NE
Russell Hilliard, Concord, NH
Fred Bonfils, Denver, CO
Gilbert Leigh, Little Rock, AR
Richard C. DuPont, Wilmington, DE
Walter York, Boise, ID
Howard Wilcox, Anthony, KS
*Because Col. Vaughn was with an aeronautical school, it is presumed Wilson asked Vaughn strictly for recommendations.
George Viehman became the first NJ Wing Commander.


Examples of the correspondence to and from room 1011, late October through early December, 1941.

November 10, 1941 Confidential
Mr. George A, Viehmann, Manager
Somerset Hills Airport, Basking Ridge, New Jersey

Dear George:
My wire to you also went out to a number of other men in the various States. Our Jersey State Wing will of course
tie into this thing completely and will not change your status in any way, except to make you the representative of
the Federal as well as the State set-up.
I have complete confidence in your ability to do a swell job with this thing and had no hesitancy in telling the
General Staff (which is composed of representatives of Army, Navy, CAA, and the Office of Civilian Defense) that you
were the man for New Jersey.
The Wing Commanders are going to be the key men in all of this, and the armed services are definitely looking to
the Civil Air Patrol for help.
A training Directive is now being prepared and will be out very shortly.
Regards, as always.
Sincerely yours,
Gill Robb Wilson

November 25, 1941 Confidential
Mr. Harry Copeland, Loew Building, Syracuse, N.Y.
Dear Mr. Copeland:

Thank you for your letter of November 20 offering your services in the organization of “Air Defense Clubs.”
As you probably know, an organization of the civil air resources of the nation, to be known as the Civil Air Patrol,
is proceeding at the present time, and it is hoped that public announcement regarding it may be made within the
next week or so. The Civil Air Patrol program calls for organization under our nine regional offices, with State Wing
Commanders and a breakdown into Groups, Squadrons, and Flights. Enlistment will be voluntary and open to
ground as well as flight personnel, and to men and women. We are preparing a booklet giving complete details for
state organization and individual enlistment, which will be distributed when the plan is ready for public
announcement. A copy will be sent to you at that time.


At the present time the staff of the Civil Air Patrol consists of myself and a small office force which is furnished,
of course, by the Office of Civilian Defense. I myself am here on a loan basis from the State Aviation Commission of
New Jersey. A large force in the Washington office is not contemplated. It may be, however, that a need for
personnel may develop in the various Wing (State) Commander offices. It is suggested, therefore, that you watch for
the announcement of the appointment for your state and then communicate with the Wing Commander. As you are
doubtless aware, administrative personnel of the Office of Civilian Defense are certified to us by the Civil Service
Sincerely yours,
Gill Robb Wilson
Executive Consultant

November 28, 1941 Confidential
Miss Jeska Thompson, Town & Country Players, Canandaigua, NY

Dear Miss Thompson:

This is in further reference to your letter of June 17 which was addressed to Mayor LaGuardia at New York and
acknowledged at that time with the statement that you would hear from him again. The Office of Civilian Defense is,
of course, extremely glad to receive the offer of cooperation from the Albany Chapter of the Women Flyers of
I am happy to be able to inform you that an organization of the civil air resources of the nation, to be known as
the Civil Air Patrol, is proceeding at the present time. It is hoped that public announcement regarding it may be
made within the next week or so. For your information, the civil Air Patrol is being set up as a division of the Office
of Civilian Defense. Organization will be based upon the nine-Corps-Area plan of the Army, with breakdowns into
Wings, Groups, Squadrons, and Flights. Enlistment will be entirely voluntary, open to both ground and flight
personnel and to men and women. There will be a national training directive to provide uniform training so that we
may best coordinate the civil air resources of the nation for national defense.
Beyond a doubt there will be a need for service such as is rendered by groups similar to yours. However, this
must essentially be a national organization to be thoroughly effective, and we hope that members of your group will
feel it possible to volunteer their services in the Civil Air Patrol. No organizations will be affiliated with the Civil Air
Patrol, but enlistment is open to individual application.
Further details pertaining to the Civil Air Patrol will be available within the next few weeks through the Wing
Command of the Civil Air Patrol, the State departments of aviation, and the airport managers.

Gill Robb Wilson


November 28th-1941 Confidential
Mr. Theodore B. Appel, Jr., 3004 Fountain Park Boulevard, Knoxville, TN


The White House has turned over to this office for reply your communication of November 12 to Mrs. Roosevelt,
and on her behalf as well as my own, I wish to thank you for your interest in the civil air program of the Office of
Civilian Defense.
We are indeed grateful to you for the plan which you submitted and you may be sure that in the development of
our program, it will have consideration.
(The letter then went on to contain the same paragraph as the previous two letters)

Additional information regarding the Civil Air Patrol will be available through State Defense Councils, local Civil
Aeronautic Administration Offices and in your state, through the Bureau of Aeronautics, 1018 Cotton States
Building, Nashville.
Your interest is tremendously appreciated, and I hope you will make a special effort to volunteer your services when
the plan is announced.
Gill Robb Wilson

December 2nd, 1941
Major William B. Robertson, President Robertson Aircraft Corporation, Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Airport.

Dear Bill:
Thanks for your good letter and the information which we wanted.
I have recommended you as Wing Commander for Missouri in my most glowing and convincing manner.
The organization booklet has gone to the printers and I surpass the Director of Civilian Defense will be ready
shortly to make a national announcement.
As always,
Gill Robb Wilson


December 4, 1941
Mr. Howard Wilcox, Wilcox Building, Anthony, Kansas

Dear Howard:
Immediately upon receipt of your letter of November 28, which reached me December 2, I sent you the
following telegram:
“Confidential letter dated November 28 Director LaGuardia to Governor Ratner gives up to the minute status of Civil
Air Patrol.”
On December 3 Postal Telegraph notified me of its non-delivery stating that the message had been forwarded by
their Wichita office to Topeka but that you were not registered at any of the hotels and could not be located at the
State Supreme Court. I feel certain, however, that your conference with the Govermor developed the fact that he
had received Director LaGuardia’s letter of November 28 which contained all pertinent current information
regarding the Civil Air Patrol. Our booklet is now in the hands of the printer and a copy will be sent you immediately
upon its release.
With best wishes, I am
Sincerely yours,
Gill Robb Wilson

Personal Notes
November 10, 1941
Mr. Stanley T. Wallbank, 514 Equitable Building, Denver, Colorado

Dear Stanley:
Thanks for all of your work in connection with the recommendation as to who should head the Colorado
Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. It is extremely important that we get men of the highest caliber, because they are
definitely going to play a big part in the common defense.
Received your nice letter at Washington. It was a very happy occasion. Met a lot of men who knew you and
wished to be remembered.
Mary told me of the announcement of the wedding. It naturally made us very happy. I reckon there isn’t a
chance in a million that either of us could get there, but there will be a remembrance along which we hope will
remind the youngsters of how sincerely we join in your pride and affection for them.
We are making good progress down here in the Office of Civilian Defense and, while all of us are working at
a grueling pace, there is satisfaction that we are getting things done.
Affectionately, as always,
Gill Robb Wilson


(From the following letter it can be presumed that once the initial Wing Commanders were chosen, Wilson
talked to Johnson about taking his place as the permanent Executive Director.)
November 19, 1941
Mr Earle Johnson
Dear Earle,
Just received your good letter of the seventeenth. I’ll be calling you within the next several days.
In the meantime, I wish you would send me a personal history of yourself as related to education, business
experience, and that sort of thing. We want to use a lot of this data for publicity out of the national office and
also must have it on file.
Also, you had better be thinking over who you will want as Wing Commander of Ohio if you take of leave of
absence to come down here for a tour of duty. It is about this latter possibility that I will be calling you, so do
some thinking about it.
I want to hear about the hunting trip. Love to Dorey.
As Always,
Gill Robb Wilson

On November 12, 1941, Wilson sent these uniform recommendations to Helen Rough and Cecile Hamilton:
Sears Roebuck: Nu-blue slacks and shirt to match in Sanfordized Army twill. Shirt: $2.29, pants $2.49,
purchased as combination $4.25.
J.C. Penny(sic): Only suitable uniform not subject to delay in delivery is a lightweight suit of teal green
herringbone pattern. Shirt: $1.39, pants $1.79, total being $3.18.
Montgomery Ward: List an Army twill ion smoke khaki of same style as mentioned above in Sears Roebuck
report: two pieces: $5.25.
November 21, 1941 Memo:
It is recommended:
1. The field uniform of the Civil Air Patrol shall be
A. Khaki shirt
B. Khaki trousers
C. Khaki overseas cap
D. Black tie
E. Black or brown shoes and socks
F. Any type leather or cloth windbreaker or jacket


2. Civil Air Patrol insignia shall be worn
A. On left shoulder of shirt
B. On left breast of flying jacket or windbreaker
C. On overseas cap.

3. For dress uniform
A. Any style or grade of khaki tunic
B. Any style or grade of khaki trousers
C. Brown shoes
D. White or khaki shirt - optional
E. Black tie
F. Civil Air Patrol insignia shall be worn on left shoulder of tunic.
G. Flight and/or rating insignia shall be worn on left breast.

4. Uniform dress for women shall be any adaptation of colors heretofore prescribed.

The above recommendations are based on the following considerations:

1. Khaki is the most available of all the colors.
2. It is procurable in so many different qualities of material. The volunteer may get a uniform for less than
$5 or he may
procure garments of finer quality.
3. Khaki clothes are available everywhere. In fact, many volunteers already own such clothes.
4. Experienced personnel requests khaki be adopted.
5. The use of khaki will immediately give a psychological character to the organization. Blue and all other
colors have been adopted by airlines and various other groups. The khaki will convey the sense of national
defense significance.
6. It is the insignia which will distinguish the organization and the military will have no objection.
7. I wish to make the most urgent recommendation that the uniform be adopted. This will free us from any
bottleneck and it is vital that we prescribe a uniform upon announcement of the plan because local units
already formed are already planning most resplendent outfits for themselves and if they proceed to do this, it
will hurt our recruiting badly.
The work of the Civil Air Patrol must progress without any delays due to unnecessary details.


For insignia:
1. Sleeve ornaments: cloth, embroidered, 3” circle of CAP basic design.
2. Cap ornaments: cloth, embroidered, 1.5” circle of CAP basic design.
3. Metal and embroidered wings for shirts and tunics - full wing. Pilot.
4. Metal and embroidered half wings. Observer.
5. Metal and embroidered propellers. Ground Personnel.
6. Rating insignia: 5 point metal gold and metal silver stars.
5 point embroidered red and embroidered blue stars
7. Airplane insignia: stencils and/or decals of the basic CAP design to be painted or imprinted on wings,
fuselage, tail, etc. of all CAP airplanes.


Original Structure for the Civil Air Patrol


Appendix A
Executive Agencies and Functions of the Federal Government Abolished, Transferred, or Terminated
Subsequent to March 4, 1933
Civil Air Patrol (Office of Civilian Defense).--Established by Administrative Order 9 of December 8, 1941,
to enlist, organize, and operate a volunteer corps of civilian airmen, with their own aircraft and
equipment, for wartime tasks. Executive order 9339 of April 29, 1943, transferred the Civil Air Patrol to
the War Department


The Original national “blueprint” from the papers of Gill Robb Wilson