Ohio Wing World War II History

Ohio Wing of the Civil Air Patrol in World War II – A Brief Overview
by
Frank Blazich, Col, CAP
Ohio Wing Historian

Emblem: The Ohio Wing patch was approved by National CAP Headquarters on 20 October 1950. The original designer remains unknown. 

Description: On an azure disc bordered argent, a Wright Flyer in Argent at the fess point is superimposed over a map of the state of Ohio. The map in Gules at the nombril point is trimmed in Argent.  A Tenne depth is on the southern and eastern sides of the state’s trim. The undercarriage, wire bracing, struts, and edges of the forward horizontal elevator are silver-gray. The struts and supporting wire braces extend from the top or leading edge of the upper wing to the top or leading edge of the lower wing. At the middle chief are the Arabic numerals “51” in silver-gray. 

Significance:  The map of Ohio signifies the home for the wing.  The Wright Flyer pays homage to Orville and Wilbur Wright, natives of Dayton, Ohio who invented and constructed the world’s first successful airplane in 1903. The Flyer depicted is this airplane. The colors of azure, gules, and argent are representative of the colors of the Ohio state flag, as well as the colors of the Civil Air Patrol. Centered above the map of the state are the numerals “51” in silver-gray, for the Ohio Wing was the first state in the Army’s Fifth Service Corps area during World War II, as designated by Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters in Operations Directive No. 1, 12 February 1942.

 
Established on 1 December 1941, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) organized the nation’s civilian pilots into a type of “flying minutemen,” utilizing private aviation resources for the nation’s defense.  The founding of the CAP predated the Second World War in both concept and development. Aircraft demonstrated their utility in World War I, fulfilling virtually every role undertaken in subsequent wars. Air combat in the opening stages of World War II demonstrated the immense value that aviation offered for military operations.  As Americans watched the war unfold overseas, the U.S. civilian aviation resources numbered 100,000 private pilots, 25,000 private aircraft, and more than 2,500 small airfields. Gill Robb Wilson, a veteran aviator from World War I, editor of the New York Herald Tribune aviation page, president of the National Aeronautics Association, and director of the New Jersey Bureau of Aviation, foresaw the use of these civilian resources in 1936 after a visit to Germany. Convinced that war loomed on the horizon, Wilson in the summer of 1941 persuaded New Jersey Governor Charles Edison to grant him permission to develop the New Jersey Civil Air Defense Services (NJ CADS), which would serve as the direct model for the Civil Air Patrol. Wilson’s plan offered several missions for the pilots, including safeguarding airports, aerial liaison, and coastal patrol work. Patrol work in particular sought to deny spies and saboteurs from landing and attacking American industrial infrastructure. Wilson’s decision to establish the NJ CADS (and subsequently CAP) was influenced by aviation developments in other states from 1938 to 1941. Developments in Ohio, however, would directly influence the eventual creation of the Civil Air Patrol.

OHIO WING'S INITIAL OPERATIONS AND SERVICES

Ohio rode the crest of this wave in organizing civilian aviation for domestic defense. In November 1938 in Toledo, Milton Knight, a pilot and vice president of the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company, organized and incorporated the Civilian Air Reserve (CAR), with the stated objectives to “plan, develop, organize, [and] sponsor…a program for developing and maintaining a broader interest in aviation” and to “promote the further development, experience and training of amateur flyers and others interested in aviation in a manner that would enable them to be of substantial value in any program of national defense and in any period of national emergency.”  Subsequent CAR units developed across the country from 1939 to 1941. In the fall of 1940, the Aeronautical Advisory Council of the Department of Commerce subsequently appointed Milton to chair a committee to plan for the establishment of a national program. The same year, the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association launched a similar organization, the Civil Air Guard. Wilson initially swung the weight of the NAA behind the CAR program in 1940. Following the establishment of the federal Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) in May 1941, OCD Director Fiorello LaGuardia tasked Wilson and other aviation advocates to draft plans to organize the nation’s civilian aviation resources for homeland defense. These plans would in time culminate with the creation of the CAP.  

After taking office in 1939, Governor John W. Bricker appointed Cleveland resident Earle L. Johnson as Director of Aeronautics for the Ohio Bureau of Aeronautics. A graduate of The Ohio State University who played on the first OSU football team to win the Big Ten championship in 1916, Johnson’s interest in aviation began in the mid-1920s thanks to his neighbor and Cleveland native David Ingalls, the only United States Navy fighter ace from World War I.  Ingalls and Johnson served together in the Ohio House of Representatives for several years in the 1920s, which further developed Johnson’s views on aviation. While working for Governor Bricker, Johnson in September 1941 organized Ohio’s civilian pilots into a state wing of the Civil Air Defense Service. The Ohio Wing began recruiting its first members on 22 September 1941. When the OCD established the CAP in December 1941, the state Civil Air Defense wing evolved into a CAP wing, with Johnson serving as the first wing commander. On 24 December 1941, Johnson went to Washington to serve as the Assistant Executive Officer for the CAP; in January 1942 he became Executive Officer. In March 1942, Johnson entered active army service as a captain in the Army Air Forces and succeeded Major General John F. Curry as the national commander of the CAP, a position he held until his death in 1947.

The Ohio Wing grew rapidly following the onset of the war.  Under Johnson and later wing commander CAP Colonel George A. Stone, Jr., the wing recruited men and women throughout the state.  Governor Bricker joined CAP in May 1942, as did Congressman John M. Vorys, himself a World War I naval aviator and former director of the Ohio Bureau of Aeronautics. Initial operations in the days after the Pearl Harbor attack included patrolling major gas mains that supplied state arsenals and guarding reservoirs. In the early months of 1942, Ohio CAP members trained extensively to improve their flying proficiency for any eventuality. By October, the wing numbered 4,212 men and women organized into 9 groups and over 39 squadrons, making the Ohio Wing the second largest CAP wing in the nation.  Groups existed in Willoughby, Akron, Cleveland, Mansfield, Toledo, Dayton, Columbus, Athens, and Cincinnati, with squadrons located nearby. The Cleveland Group became extremely active in the state, establishing an all-female squadron, a military police squadron, and an engineering squadron.  

Following training, the Ohio Wing undertook a variety of missions on behalf of the war effort. The wing conducted state-wide searches for scrap metal in response to OCD scrap drives for metal, tires, and other resources, saving countless hour of ground searches and locating well over a quarter million pounds of scrap metal.  One “junk hunt” near Cleveland found an abandoned railroad, with the scrap iron track estimated to sell for over $55,000. Other flights conducted observation flights during blackouts and assisted civilian defense efforts to camouflage war industries in the state. Several squadrons also maintained constant aerial patrol over the state’s valuable timber resources through the CAP Forest Patrol service.  The eagle eyes of Ohio CAP members prevented large forest fires from erupting in 1942.  In 1943, these aircrews flew 402 fire watching missions, totaling 790 hours.  CAP personnel reported 587 fires and provided further surveillance of coal, oil, and gas resources in the state vital to the war effort and defense industries. Ohio wing members in 1943 volunteered to patrol flood-stricken areas across the state, radioing flood information to state and local authorities on the ground to help in responding to the emergencies.  

The Courier Service program of CAP represented another prominent mission of the Ohio Wing.  The Cleveland Group established a Courier Service station beginning in the fall of 1942 to serve the numerous defense factories in and around the city, ferrying parts and time-sensitive materials essential to drive the Arsenal of Democracy. The small light aircraft could easily fly into areas and through conditions when no other options remained viable.  When the Thompson Products Company plant in Cleveland, manufacturing aircraft engine valves, ceased operation when a pump failed in 1943, a CAP courier service plane flew into Defiance – which lacked a commercial airport – retrieved a replacement pump, and in less than four hours the Thompson plant resumed production.  Meanwhile at wing headquarters in Columbus, the town of Gallipolis sent in an urgent call for typhoid serum to prevent an outbreak of the disease following a flood.  CAP aircraft flew to the town and airdropped a supply of the serum on an inundated golf course. If CAP could either land or airdrop time-sensitive items, the state wing would find a way to keep the nation’s war effort churning towards victory.
 

Other Ohio wing members served as aerial couriers during the war. The small light aircraft of CAP could ferry supplies vital for war effort into areas and through conditions when no other options remained viable. In 1943, the Thompson Products Company plant in Cleveland, manufacturing aircraft engine valves, ceased operation when a pump failed. A CAP courier service plane flew into Defiance – which lacked a commercial airport – retrieved a replacement pump, and in less than four hours the Thompson plant resumed production. Meanwhile at wing headquarters in Columbus, the town of Gallipolis sent in an urgent call for typhoid serum to prevent an outbreak of the disease following a flood. CAP aircraft flew to the town and airdropped a supply of the serum on an inundated golf course. If CAP could either land or airdrop time-sensitive items, the state wing would find a way to keep the nation’s war effort churning towards victory. 

THE U-BOAT THREAT AND COASTAL PATROL

No mission, however, received the prominence of antisubmarine coastal patrol duty. In January 1942, five German U-boats began offensive operations along the East Coast of the United States. Military officials in the early months of 1942 tried to calm public fears, but confronted a shocking lack of preparedness to combat the submarines. The German offensive, deemed Operation Paukenschlag (“Drumbeat”), sought to deliver a sudden blow to the American war effort; it did so with immense success. The German U-boat attacks from January to July 1942 sank approximately 400 merchant vessels along the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. The United States military proved completely unprepared to defend coastal shipping. U-boats sank more merchant vessels off the U.S. East Coast in 1942 than off the British coast in fall 1940. The American military could not claim a victory until 14 April 1942, when the destroyer USS Roper sank U-85 off Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. In the first half of 1942, U-boats sank three million tons of shipping in American waters at a cost of just eight submarines. 

Resources available to the U.S. military in early 1942 were pitifully few for the task. To defend almost 1,500 miles of coastline, Rear Admiral Adolphus Andrews, commander of the Eastern Sea Frontier, possessed 20 under-armed, under-manned ships of varying reliability and a motley assortment of 103 aircraft, three quarters of which were unsuited for either coastal patrol or antisubmarine defense. With the navy unable to provide effective patrol aircraft, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) undertook the task of antisubmarine patrol. At the request of the navy, Lieutenant General Hugh A. Drum, commander of the Eastern Defense Command, ordered the I Bomber Command to commence patrols, the first occurring on December 8, 1941. Here too, the military found itself deficient. After frantic efforts to augment the I Bomber Command with aircraft from the First Air Force, approximately 100 two-engine aircraft were available for use to cover the entire Eastern seaboard. By the end of January 1942, the number increased to 119, with only 46 in commission: nine B-17s and the remainder a mix of B-25s and obsolete B-18s. These army air units were training squadrons, armed with demolition bombs rather than depth charges, with a dearth of training in techniques to combat submarines. Further hampering American antisubmarine efforts was a lack of coordination: United States Navy (USN) efforts operated under command of the Eastern Sea Frontier, while USAAF operations of the I Bomber Command took their directives from the Eastern Defense Command. 

The military moved slowly to address the U-boat threat. In April 1942, Admiral Andrews implemented a partial convoy system deemed the “Bucket Brigade,” which utilized daylight movement of vessels from one guarded anchorage to another spaced 120 miles apart along the Atlantic Coast. The navy began to escort merchant convoys along the East Coast the following month. The introduction of coastal convoys turned the tide against the U-boat offensive off the Eastern Seaboard. The convoys, in addition to increased air patrols and armed escorts, drastically reduced the number of U-boat sinkings. On 19 July 1942, German Admiral Karl Doenitz withdrew the last two U-boats off Cape Hatteras (U-754 and U-458) and transferred his efforts to the mid-Atlantic. This change by Doenitz was unknown to American authorities (although they did notice the downturn in U-boat activity) as Allied code breakers could not decipher the German Enigma codes for almost the entirety of 1942. Doenitz remarked after the war that despite his shift in priority, “American waters were nevertheless still worthy of exploitation in any area in which the defensive system was found to be still defective.” 

While the army and navy cobbled together military resources and bickered over command and policy issues, the Civil Air Patrol entered into the breach. In early March, members of the Tanker Committee of the Petroleum Industry War Council met with representatives of the Navy and War Departments. Expressing their anger with the nation’s military response (as tankers were a prized U-boat target), committee members suggested using the CAP pilots to patrol the coasts and force U-boats to submerge, restricting their range and operational capabilities. Aircraft posed the greatest threat to U-boats because of their speed, small size, and the vulnerability of the submarine’s hulls to damage from bombs. Upon sighting an aircraft, U-boat commanders would crash dive their boat, breaking off potential attacks and fleeing the area in case of retaliation. Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King rejected this idea on grounds of “operational difficulties,” while Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Rear Admiral Richard S. Edwards declared, “It will serve no useful purpose except to give merchant ships the illusion that an adequate air patrol is being maintained.” Conversely, USAAF Major General Carl Spaatz had no objection to utilizing civilian aviation in an antisubmarine role. Beginning in late February and early March 1942, experimental coastal patrol bases at Atlantic City, New Jersey (Coastal Patrol Base No. 1), Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (Coastal Patrol Base No. 2), and West Palm Beach, Florida (Coastal Patrol Base No. 3) tested out the concept of the CAP pilots flying anti-submarine patrols for a 90-day period. Oil companies, whose tankers were sinking in increasing numbers, provided $18,000 ($250,000 in FY 2011) to fund entirely the first two months of operations of these bases. Aircraft sported bright colors, often red, blue, and especially yellow, all of which featured a CAP-specific roundel of a blue circle with a white triangle. Pilots on patrol received a per diem of $8.00 and free fuel in return for plenty of risk. In the event of capture, pilots wore a modified Army uniform with a CAP patch sporting “US” to guarantee the men treatment as belligerents under international law. 

From the onset of the first coastal patrol mission out of Rehoboth Beach on March fifth, the CAP crews proved invaluable to the American defense effort. These early efforts entailed spotting submarines and forcing them to dive and evade attack, locating shipwrecked sailors, marking wreckage or mines, and escorting merchant vessels. Naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison noted the “low speed and flying altitude of the C.A.P. planes enabled their pilots to observe many objects that escaped the notice of those in military planes.” CAP aircraft typically flew in two-ship formations, providing near-continuous air patrols over shipping lanes within 60 miles of shore from dawn to dusk, often only a few hundred feet above the waves. These civilian volunteers forced U-boats to dive and remain submerged, while transmitting any sightings to military authorities who would then take measures to engage the U-boats. The use of the CAP aircraft allowed the military to husband its limited forces in a focused effort to engage sighted submarines. Beginning in May, army technicians began fitting bomb racks to enable “civilian” aircraft to carry one AN-M30 100-pound general purpose bomb or a Mk17 325-pound depth bomb. Army authorities, and begrudgingly the navy under Admiral King, were convinced of the CAP’s antisubmarine patrol value well before completion of the 90-day test period. By the end of 1942, 21 CAP coastal patrol bases from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico guarded the Atlantic coastline. 

COASTAL PATROL BASE No. 14 

Ohio, far removed from the U-boat menace, resolved to contribute to the coastal patrol effort. In July 1942, Representative Vorys made an open request for volunteers to help form an all-Ohio CAP Coastal Patrol base. On 16 July 1942, national CAP headquarters turned Congressman Vorys’ request into reality by authorizing the activation of Coastal Patrol Base No. 14 at Panama City, Florida. Columbus native Robert E. Dodge, a forty-one year old CAP major served as commander. The Ohio men established the base at Atkinson Field, an abandoned airfield four miles northwest of Panama City by St. Andrews Bay.  When the Ohio men and women arrived to begin operations, they confronted a weed-infested concrete apron, three overgrown sod and sand runways, and remains of a rotting wooden hanger. Working around the clock, the Buckeyes erected barracks, a mess hall, operations buildings, and a hanger using lumber scavenged from a nearby Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Training on open water navigation, communications, and bombing practice commenced and the first patrols took off on 8 August 1942 over the Gulf of Mexico. 

From dawn to dusk, the CAP aircraft patrolled the warm waters of the gulf. The base’s pilots patrolled an area of ocean from Mobile, Alabama to Light House Point, Florida, extending outwards of 60 miles from shore. The War Department authorized these coastal patrol units “to patrol coastal shipping lanes for the purpose of protecting friendly shipping and of locating and reporting enemy submarines, warships, or suspicious craft and to take such action as their equipment permits in the destruction of enemy submarines.” The headquarters of the 26th Antisubmarine Wing in Miami relayed orders and intelligence for base operations, which fell overall under the Army Air Force Antisubmarine Command (AAFAC), Mitchell Field, New York. These antisubmarine patrol operations by the CAP were classified “as confidential military information, and will at all times be safeguarded as such,” with violators subject to dismissal and prosecution under the Espionage Act. Although the military acknowledged the existence of the bases, the public received only snippets of information about their activity. In addition to patrol duty, the navy or coast guard could call on the small aircraft to escort convoys up and down the coast, passing the convoy off between base aircraft and providing an aerial shepherd to deter the gray wolves of the Ubootwaffe. CAP aircrews radioed back to base anything unusual or any suspicious objects, with the messages then relayed to military authorities. The Ohio CAP members of Coastal Patrol Base No. 14 spotted oil slicks, debris, reported suspected U-boats, remains of crashed aircraft, and anything out of the ordinary. Vorys himself flew patrol duty from August to September 1942, the only member of Congress to serve in the CAP coastal patrol. 

Coastal flying proved costly in terms of aircraft and men. Mechanical issues and engine failures dogged many a light aircraft, and few places were less desirable for an engine failure than far out to sea. Pilots and observers wore inflatable, “Mae West” life vests on loan from the military, and aircraft carried small one or two-man life rafts in the event of an ocean ditching. Almost every coastal patrol base had an aircraft go down in the ocean, with a final tally of 74 water crashes and 26 fatalities from 1942 to 31 August 1943. In March 1943 the CAP established the “Duck Club” to parallel the USAAF’s “Caterpillar Club” (for when a pilot successfully bailed out of a disabled aircraft) and the British “Goldfish Club” (for bailing out or landing in/on water and surviving via a personal flotation device). The national CAP headquarters issued a special badge, a red duck floating on blue water, to any pilot or observer who survived a water landing. 

Five Ohioans would join the Duck Club during the war, four at Panama City. The first member, thirty-seven year old CAP first lieutenant Henry T. Cross of Columbus, earned his webbed feet on 21 July 1942 as a member of Coastal Patrol Base No. 2, at Rehoboth, Delaware. Cross and his flight observer, nineteen year old Charles E. Shelfus (also of Columbus) crashed in the Atlantic around 5:00PM. After an hour of treading water, a Sikorsky S-39 Amphibian flying boat from the base arrived on the scene, landed, and managed to pull Cross aboard. The men were unable to spot Shelfus, who remains on eternal coastal patrol. Cross suffered several fractured vertebrae, contusions, and lacerations, but survived his ordeal. His rescuers, Hugh R. Sharp, Jr. and Edmond I. Edwards, received the Air Medal for meritorious service from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first Air Medals ever awarded to CAP personnel. Although Cross’s injuries prohibited him from flying, he later served as operations officer at Panama City. 

Unfortunately, the next members of the Duck Club joined under even more tragic circumstances. At the Panama City base on 30 October 1942, the two aircraft preparing for dawn patrol collided shortly after takeoff. Lieutenants Charles W. Andrews, 36, of Springfield and Lester E. Milkey, 50, of Sandusky died on impact with the water. Lieutenants Carl S. Clark, 26, of Columbus and Franklin B. Wetzel executed a semi-controlled crash into St. Andrews Bay and a nearby tugboat rescued them. At his funeral in Sandusky, Ohio, over one thousand people bid Milkey farewell. In January 1943, an aircraft with lieutenants Alvie T. Vaughen of Galion and Curtis B. Black of North Olmsted crashed on patrol over the Gulf for undetermined reasons. Neither man’s remains were ever recovered. Vaughen left a widow and three orphans; the base personnel, together with pledges from various Ohio squadrons, established a trust fund for the children. Since CAP personnel served as civilian volunteers, they were ineligible for veterans’ benefits. 

Naturally, CAP patrols desired a U-boat sighting above all else. The men at Coastal Patrol Base No. 14 reported possible submarine sightings to military authorities, but after investigation they were considered either doubtful of non-submarines. Many of these sightings and their descriptions detail either suspicious oil slicks, wakes in the water, or clusters of air bubbles. Trailing wakes or swirling patches of water would betray U-boats crash diving to evade the tiny patrol planes. Patrols reported any possible submarine sightings, which the military promptly investigated to confirm or disprove, leaving nothing to chance. In case aircrews sighted anything, they had the ability to drop 100-pound demolition bombs using a crude but effective bombsight. The Ohio men on patrol did not sink any U-boats, but they did assist in the rescue of shipwreck survivors, reported sinking or suspicious vessels to the military, and ensured that the valuable tankers and supply vessels leaving ports in the Gulf made their way safely to military forces in Europe and the Pacific. 

CHANGING MISSIONS

The inter-service confusion between the army and navy about control and use of aircraft for antisubmarine operations determined the long-term military role for the CAP. The navy wanted antisubmarine patrol and aerial escort for convoys; the army wanted “killer groups” to pursue any submarine sighting. Nationally, overall control of the CAP coastal patrol bases fell under the I Air Support Command, in turn operating under I Bomber Command for the spring and summer of 1942. In September General George C. Marshall proposed to Admiral King the establishment of an antisubmarine command, whereby the naval sea frontier commanders retained operational control, but the War Department would control the allocation of aircraft to concentrate them at specific areas of concern. On 15 October 1942, the antisubmarine elements of the I Bomber Command, including the CAP bases, shifted to the newly established Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command (AAFAC), composed of the 25th and 26th Antisubmarine Wings. 

In the summer of 1943, the army and navy reached a final solution about aerial operations in antisubmarine warfare that had a profound effect on the CAP bases. On 9 July 1943, the services agreed that the army would withdraw from antisubmarine operations when the navy was in a position to assume these duties. The services would complete transfer of equipment and operations from late July into September. With American military forces built up along the Atlantic coast, and the U-boat arm dealt a devastating blow in the spring of 1943, Admiral King ordered the deactivation of the CAP coastal patrol operations and the discontinuance of CAP coastal patrols at sundown on August 31. That same day, the Eastern Defense Command and USAAF re-designated the AAFAC as the I Bomber Command and disbanded the 25th and 26th Antisubmarine Wings. This decision reflected the army-navy decision of July 9. Admiral King commended the work of the civilian bases, expressing a “’WELL DONE’ for their enthusiastic, loyal, and constant cooperation in combating the submarine menace, patrolling our coastline and assisting in the locating of survivors and ships in distress.” 

Just at the moment the bases reached their operational apex, changes at the national level ended the CAP coastal patrol mission. While military leaders initially had been skeptical about the creation of the Civil Air Patrol, doubting whether civilian aviators could contribute effectively to the nation’s defense, by the summer of 1943 both the army and navy recognized the value of the CAP, largely due to the success of the coastal patrolling operations. On 29 April 1943, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9339, transferring the Civil Air Patrol from the Office of Civilian Defense to the Department of War, specifically the USAAF. The Civil Air Patrol thereby became the USAAF Auxiliary. The War Department justified their push for the CAP transfer, writes historian Elwyn Mauck, for two reasons. First, the War Department financed all important CAP functions thus warranting the logical consolidation under one agency. Second, the War Department could more easily supply parts for CAP aircraft. Following the transfer, both the CAP missions and national staff remained intact, and aircraft parts and maintenance rapidly improved. 

So it was on the evening of 31 August 1943 that the flag at Ohio’s own Coastal Patrol Base No. 14 was lowered for the last time. The closure of the coastal patrol base did not end entirely in Florida, but rather California. In January 1944 the national CAP headquarters assigned some of the base personnel to Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, California to become Tow Target Unit No. 7, under the command of CAP Major Lloyd H. Fales, former command of Coastal Patrol Base No. 7, at Miami, Florida. Instead of spotting submarines, the pilots now towed large canvas sleeves at the end of a steel cable that could be played out via a winch up to 5,000 feet behind their aircraft. Pilots with considerable nerve and intestinal fortitude towed the targets while antiaircraft batteries practiced their marksmanship and target tracking and perfected their aerial gunnery procedures. Only the most powerful aircraft could pull the targets for daylight missions, while lighter aircraft flew tracking missions at night for searchlight tracking missions. By late spring 1944 the tow target mission was complete and the Ohio men returned to home to the Buckeye state, having joined CAP and seen the war. 

POSTWAR AND LEGACY

After the conclusion of the CAP tow targeting bases, a group of CAP coastal patrol personnel organized and lobbied Congress for veteran status. In November 1944, North Carolina Senator Robert R. Reynolds introduced legislation to recognize active-duty members of the CAP as World War II veterans. Speaking before the Senate, Reynolds declared, “these men were made combatants not by choice of their own, but by command of the War Department.” Reynolds later asked his listeners, “These men did not question the right of the War Department to make them combat troops; now who has the right to question whether or not they were soldiers?” The following year, North Carolina Representative Joe W. Ervin introduced similar legislation in the House. In late 1944, CAP Lt. Col. Frank E. Dawson of Charlotte, North Carolina established the Association of Civil Air Patrol Veterans, Inc. to further the effort to obtain veterans benefits for the coastal patrol members, widows, and orphans. In October 1945, coastal patrol members testified at a subcommittee hearing for the House Committee on Military Affairs about legislation to provide veteran status for CAP members on active-duty service in coastal patrol, tow target units, liaison patrol, or courier service. Unfortunately, the legislation died in committee. The Veterans Association continued to press Congress to award compensation to the surviving families of those active-duty CAP members killed during the war for the remainder of the decade. In 1948, the Department of Defense awarded Air Medals to any coastal patrol pilot or observer with over 200 hours of patrol time. Forty-three Ohio CAP members received the medal for their wartime service, the sixth highest total in the nation. 

Ohio’s men and women proudly served their state and country and their actions did not go unnoticed. CAP’s wartime record of antisubmarine duty contributed to the postwar permanence of the organization. Nationally, these wartime volunteers flew 244,600 hours in 86,685 missions. Aircrews reported 91 vessels in distress, rescued 363 survivors at sea, and recovered the remains of 36 souls. CAP coastal patrol personnel also performed 5,684 special convoy missions at the request of the navy. Congress noticed these accomplishments, and on 1 July 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed Public Law 79-476, incorporating the Civil Air Patrol. Less than two years later, Truman signed Public Law 80-557 on 26 May 1948, establishing the Civil Air Patrol as the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force.


PERSONNEL KILLED– COASTAL PATROL

1st Lt Charles W. Andrews, Springfield – CP No. 14, Panama City, FL, 30 Oct 42
1st Lt Curtis P. Black, North Olmsted – CP No. 14, Panama City, FL, 4 Jan 43
1st Lt Lester E. Milkey, Sandusky – CP No. 14, Panama City, FL, 30 Oct 42
1st Lt Gerald G. Owen, West Farmington – CP No.14, Panama City, FL, 3 Apr 43
1st Lt Charles E. Shelfus, Columbus – CP No. 2, Rehoboth, DE, 21 Jul 42
1st Lt Alvie T. Vaughen, Galion – CP No. 14, Panama City, FL, 4 Jan 43

PERSONNEL KILLED – MISCELLANEOUS

1st Lt Margaret J. Bartholomew, Cincinnati – Courier Mission, Kenwood, PA, 18 Oct 43 
2d Lt Dayton C. Davis, Willoughby – War Bond Campaign, Erie, PA, 7 Sep 43
2d Lt Meriwether J. Purdy, Cambridge – Courier Mission, Chicago, IL, 13 Jan 44
Sgt Frederick P. Streisel, Cleveland – War Bond Campaign, Erie, PA, 7 Sep 43

 

DUCK CLUB MEMBERS
1st Lt Carl S. Clark, Columbus – CP No. 14, Panama City, FL, 30 Oct 42 
2d Lt Bernard R. Cohen, Cleveland Heights – CP No. 14, Panama City, FL, 11 Sep 42 
1st Lt Henry T. Cross, Columbus – CP No. 2, Rehoboth, DE, 21 Jul 42 
1st Lt John P. Spellerberg, Upper Sandusky – CP No. 14, Panama City, FL, 11 Sep 42 
1st Lt Franklin B. Wetzel, Lakewood – CP No. 14, Panama City, FL, 30 Oct 42

AIR MEDAL RECIPIENTS

Coastal Patrol Base No. 1, Atlantic City, NJ
1st Lt Briggs S. Cunningham, Cincinnati
1st Lt Randall M. Custer, Cincinnati
FO Duane C. Frazier, Medina
1st Lt Washington T. Miller, Cleveland
1st Lt Emmett Pedley, Cleveland
1st Lt Henry J. Sloan, Cleveland

Coastal Patrol Base No. 2, Rehoboth, DE
Maj Robert E. Dodge, Columbus
1st Lt Robert C. Remy, Richland
1st Lt William C. Vance, Columbus

Coastal Patrol Base No. 5, Flagler Beach, FL
1st Lt Isaac C. Beatty III, Oberlin

Coastal Patrol Base No. 6, St. Simons Island, GA
1st Lt Arthur A. Bieder, Ashtabula
2d Lt Cloyce F. Luce, Ashtabula
1st Lt Floyd M. Shepherd, Ashtabula

Coastal Patrol Base No. 14, Panama City, FL
1st Lt Robert E. Arn, Westerville
1st Lt Joseph Azis, Ashtabula
2d Lt Fred W. Binger, Columbus*
1st Lt Curtis P. Black, North Olmsted*
1st Lt Edward P. Bruch, Jr., Mentor
1st Lt William V.E. Burdick, Stow
1st Lt Carl S. Clark, Columbus
2d Lt Bernard R. Cohen, Cleveland Heights
2d Lt Kenneth C. Davies, Liberty Center
1st Lt William E. Fowler, Cincinnati
1st Lt George E. Furry, Orrville
1st Lt Joseph Gabney, Cleveland
1st Lt Gerald R. Gray, Marysville
1st Lt Charles A. Greene, Wooster
1st Lt Edward H. Hahn, Cleveland
1st Lt Fred D. King, Springfield
1st Lt Francis E. Kissell, Upper Sandusky
2d Lt David Laufman, Cleveland
1st Lt William H. Oliver, Columbus*
1st Lt Gerald G. Owen, West Farmington*
1st Lt Stanley H. Reaver, Columbus
1st Lt Donald W. Ross, Columbus
1st Lt Harry E. Studier, Cleveland
1st Lt Herbert L. Thompson, Wyoming
1st Lt Joseph Ule, Lorain
1st Lt Alvie T. Vaughen, Galion*
1st Lt Ferdinand L. Weston, Cincinnati
1st Lt Franklin B. Wetzel, Lakewood
1st Lt James G. Willoughby, Cleveland
* indicates posthumous award

Coastal Patrol Base No. 20, Bar Harbor, ME
1st Lt Frederick F. Ludwick, Jr., Cuyahoga

OHIO WING COMMANDERS

Earle L. Johnson 1 Dec 41 – 1 Apr 42
Col George A. Stone, Jr. 7 Apr 42 – 1 Jun 47
Col John R. McGuire 1 Jun 47 – 17 Jul 51
Col Edmund P. Lunken 17 Jul 51 – 23 Sep 53
Col John O. Swarts 23 Sep 53 – 14 Sep 57
Lt Col Lyle W. Castle 14 Sep 57 – 12 Aug 60
Col Robert H. Herweh 12 Aug 60 – 6 Dec 63
Col William W. Kight 6 Dec 63 – 8 Dec 67
Col Patrick R. Sorohan 8 Dec 67 – 1 Jun 70
Col Gerald M. Tartaglione 1 Jun 70 – 1 Jun 74
Col Leon W. Dillon 1 Jun 74 – 4 Jan 78
Col Claude H. Fore, Jr. (interim) 4 Jan 78 – 1 Dec 78
Col Marjorie J. Swain 1 Dec 78 – 20 Feb 83
Col Loren G. Gillespie 20 Feb 83 – 6 May 87
Col Larkin C. Durdin 6 May 87 – 31 Dec 89
Col Leslie S. Bryant 31 Dec 89 – 1 Jan 92
Col Carl C. Stophlet, Jr. 1 Jan 92 – 1 Oct 94
Col Jacquelyn L. Hartigan 1 Oct 94 – 19 Sep 98
Col Robert M. Sponseller 19 Sep 98 – 4 Aug 99
Col Michael J. Murrell 4 Aug 99 – 14 Sep 03
Col Charles L. Carr 14 Sep 03 – 1 Mar 07
Col David M. Winters (interim) 1 Mar 07 – 6 Jun 07
Col David M. Winters 6 Jun 07 – 11 Jun 11
Col Gregory L. Mathews
Lt Col Theodore L. Shaffer (interim)
Col Theodore L. Shaffer 
11 Jun 11 – 23 Jun 13
23 June 13 - 12 Oct 13
12 Oct 13 - Present