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The Walrus

The Walrus

Vol. 1 No. 27 page 1 July 11, 1952

Civil Defense A BHOD Planned

Lester Rubey, chairman for Civil Defense for Igloo, announced Monday night that plans for a 24 hour plane spotting project are now under way. A tower will be placed at the disposal of Civil Defense workers in this area in the near future and volunteers are needed to take turns at the tower. At least 96 volunteers, who may be anyone from 16 years up, are needed. Tours of duty will be in two hour shifts, throughout the 24 hours.

Each day it is to be stressed that this is not play, but rather, a very important project. As a watcher, you may be instrumental in saving the country and your home from a suprise attack, thereby saving numberless lives. If you buy a new car, you don't wait till you have a wreck before you take out insurance. Let's not wait for another Pearl Harbor before we take means of defense. These plane spotting stations are, or will be set up all over the Untied States.

Next Friday night a meeting will be held at the new City Hall in Edgemont for the purpose of organizing teams in both Edgemont and Igloo. Speakers from the Rapid City Army Air Base will be there to instruct every one in plane spotting, and a movie will be shown. The meeting will be held at 8 p.m., and transportation will be furnished for those who have no cars. We would like to have as many as possible attend the meeting.

Anyone wishing to volunteer for plane spotting duty may call any of the following: Lester Rubey, Phone 164R, during the day, or 232W after 4 o'clock; Norman Krebs, Phone 95W, or Blaine Cuckler, Phone 60. Give your name, address, phone number, and hours you will be available. Both men and women will be accepted for duty. Don't pass up this opportunity to serve your country and your fellow man.

The Walrus

Vol. 1 No. 28 page 6 July 18, 1952

Air Defense Plans Being Completed

A meeting for the purpose of organizing ground observation posts in this area was held Fridahy evening at the new City Hall in Edgemont. Sgt Dutham and Pfc. Hunting, of the Filter Center at Rapid City conducted the meeting, which was interesting and instructive. Igloo and Edgemont were both well represented at the meeting. Sgt. Durham emphasized the fact that the ground observation posts were a very essential and important part of enemy plane spotting.

Igloo has a tower erected and ready for use in case of an alert. It was emphasized that volunteers will not be called for duty except in case of an alert by the filter center. In case of an alert, spotters will serve two hours or more, in shifts, and will operate 24 hours each day until the alert is over.

Mr. Seppala of Edgemont has been appointed as County Supervisor. Mr. Clayton Feldhausen is appointed as Post supervisor for Edgemont. Lester Rubey is appointed as Post Supervisor for Igloo and Elmer (Ty) Simpson will be chief observer. Blaine Cuckler, commander of Patrick Varvel Post No. 3530, and Norman Krebs, past Commander, attended the meeting and will render all possible assistance.

Sgt. Durham has agreed to hold two meetings in the Community Building, Igloo, to instruct and train volunteers for the Igloo area. The meetings will be held Thursday, July 24. One meeting will be held at 2 p.m. for night shift workers who wish to attend, and another meeting at 7:30 p.m. for day workers. It is urged that all who can possiblly attend will do so. A sound picture will be shown at each meeting.

The meetings are being called to establish observation posts and man them with personnel who will be trained to track aircraft, and report them to the filter center at Rapid City. Established posts will receive a formal course of instruction from qualified Air Force Personnel which will fit the observer into the vital Defense network of the United States.

The Walrus

Vol. 1 No. 30 page 1 Aug 1, 1952

GOC Tower

Pictured here is the tower erected at Black Hills Ordnance Depot for convenience of the ground watchers.
Plane spotters will use the tower during their tour of duty under defense plans now being formulated.

The Walrus

Vol. 2 No. 16 page 1 Apr. 17, 1953

Observation Corps Members Receive Wings At Meeting

Cpl. Thomas and Cpl. Kinsky of the Rapid City Filter Center were at Igloo on Wednesday to speak to a group of local Ground Observation personnel gathered at the Community Building. The local volunteers saw a film "One Plane - One Bomb" which demonstrated visually the tragic necessity of careful vigilance on the part of G.O.C. spotters. The part they play in our nation's safety during these troubled times was doubly emphasized by the recent tests which indicate that planes bearing atomic weapons can, and will, invade our airways and wrack devastation in our land, unless spotter volunteers back the G.O.C. program whole-heartedly.

Six Igloo spotters, Mrs. Geddis Nelson, Marvin Williams, Darrell Newlin, Ben Schoch, John Lolley and Geddis Nelson received their G.O.C. wings for having served 50 hours as ground observation spotters.

The Walrus

Vol. 2 No. 16 page 2 Apr. 17, 1953

Defense From Hositle Aircraft . . .

In theory our radar sets detect the approach of enemy aircraft, the fighters rise to intercept and shoot them down, and thus the enemy is turned back. Sounds easy - it is easy in theory, but after theory comes plain hard facts. Facts like weather, insufficient radar and aircraft and most importanat limitations of radar itself.

Radar works on a line of sight principle. You cannot see through a mountain, nor can radar. Mountains are not all that affect radar. Trees, tall buildings, peculiar terrain features, all can hinder its operation. This being the case, consider the terrain of the United States and you will soon realize that there are extremely few locations where radar can be completely effective, therefore, to set up a radar screen about the United States, that would detect every invading aircraft, no matter how low or high it flies, would require in some localities, a radar set a least every half mile. This is an impossible task. Even if there were that many sets in existance, the cost would be prohibitive. Even if funds were available, industry could not meet the need for many years.

Thus it can readily be seen that our defense has many gaps in it. Enemy bombers could easily select a number of approach routes to vital targets along which our radar could not possibly detect their approach. These gaps must be filled and there is only one way to do that, - the Ground Observation Corps! With the Ground Observations Corps our defense organization is complete. Ground observation, Radar and fighters working together, spell defeat for enemy aerial attack. The information collected by ground observers, speedily passed through their Filter Centers, and thence to the fighter direction centers, can be every bit as effective as that passed by our radar sets.

You may wonder why a ruthless enemy would stop at the targets in South Dakota, when there are such targets as the atom bomb plants and the oil and industrial centers further inland, and therefore why ground observers are necessary in South Dakota and other states in this area. This country is great because of the cooperation which exists among Americans, in the native ability to get together and solve our mutal problems. If here in South Dakota, we let the people in the states to the west and south and east down, a chain reaction is set up until finally some vital industry or city further to the south receives an atom bomb without any warning whatsoever. The chain reaction works in reverse. The results of that atom bomb will affect you and your way of life just as surely as if it fell upon you.

The Walrus

Vol. 2 No. 21 page 1 May 22, 1953

Ground Observer Corps Starts Big Drive For More Volunteers

In a concerted effort to get the Depot's Ground Observer Corps on a full-time basis, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Wilhelm, with six supervisors, have launhed a drive to enlist volunteers for this vitally important defense program.

When a full complement of volunteers is enlisted to man the observation tower, on the hill near the hospital, tours of duty will be so arranged that one person will put in his two hour shift about every eight days and the necessity of week end observation will be about once in eight weeks.

Working in cooperation with the Rapid City Air Force Filter Center, Ralph Wilhelm is the Depot Supervisor of the GOC and will be assisted by Mrs. Wilhelm in the administration of the Corps' mission.

Daily supervisors are: Henry Bens, Maintenance, Depot Property, Salvage and railroad crews; Don Waldron for Personnel, Purchasing, Fiscal, Payroll, Guards, Fire Department, and Housing; Dean Sampsell, Storage; Jim Cooley, Labor and Equipment; William Bennett, General Supply and Carmen Eining, Renovation, Supervisors are needed for Surveillance and Storage Office.

Those interested in becoming a member of the GOC should contact any one of the above supervisors.

The Walrus

Vol. 2 No. 26 page 6 June 26, 1953

Your G.O.C. - - -

by Carroll Wilhelm

We are still proud to say that we are observing 24 hours a day. We do appreciate your fine co-operation in helping with this worthwhile civic duty.

Following is a list of those with 20 hours or more to their credit.

50 hours and over - Harry Gilpin, Jr., Janet McKinney, Dixie Lee Morgan, Joe Schmaltz, Russell Toffelmire, Harry Gilpin, Sr., and Mrs. Ralph Wilhelm.

40 to 50 hours - James Cooley, Dale Ettle, Ralph Wilhelm and Howard Catlett.

30 to 40 hours - Mrs. Roy Lambert, Lois Hendrix, Laurence Schmidt, Mrs. James Hunter, Dennis Combs, Grant McCoy, William Curry, Mike Martinez, Darrell Wilhelm and Nancy Yardley.

20 to 30 hours - Lyle C. Blare, James Hunter, Sylvia Kautz, Dick Dill, Omar Mizer, Newell Hill, Levi Westman, and Mrs. N. E. McKinney.

If you are not contacted for hours that you want to serve please call so that you may be scheduled as often as you want to be.


The Walrus

Vol. 2 No. 27 page 4 July 3, 1953

Your G.O.C. - - -

by Carroll Wilhelm

There will be a "Wings" presentation ceremony Tuesday evening, July 7th at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Building. "Wings" will be presented to each Ground Observer Volunteer that has served "fifty" hours. Lt. Michael Schmidt of the Rapid City Filter Center will be here to present the "Wings". Everyone is invited to attend this ceremony and we urge all Volunteers to be there. "Wings" will be presented again in September for those who did not have enough hours in at this time.

The Walrus

Vol. 2 No. 28 page 2 July 10, 1953

G.O.C. Proves Worth In Faith Crash . . .

The Ground Observer Corps was instrumental in helping to locate the F-84 jet which crashed near Faith, S. Dak.

Although the Corps was not primarily established to aid in aircraft rescue, much work has been done and exceedingly helpful information has been directed through the proper channels by members of the corps.

The post supervisor at Opal reported a mushroom shaped cloud raising from the area where it was supposed the aircraft had crashed. Faith post supervisor gave an accurate accounting of the incident and led the searching party which found the crashed plane.

This serves to illustrate the increased importance of aircraft flash calls.

Some critics of the Ground Observers Corps refer to the reporting of aircraft that are known to be friendly as a waste of money. No one knows when an aircraft will develop engine difficulties. No one knows when a pilot will loose his course. No one can predict an aircraft crash - but a steady stream of reports from Observer Posts can give untold help to those which are lost and also aid in pinpointing the location of a crash.

Furthermore, the Ground Observer Corps is our first line of defense against possible enemy attack. It fills the gaps in our radar network so that all planes flying within the United States can be identified. The Ground Observer Corps is needed and is the responsibility of each community to protect our country by doing their share in maintaining its defense.

The Walrus

Vol. III No. 5 page 1 Jan. 29, 1954

Depot Guards Win Recognition As Observers

GOC Medal awards

First Lt. Ralph Price of the Air Force Filter Center, Rapid City, pins the Ground Observers Corps Medal of Merit
on Chief Ground Observer Hans P. Hinrichsen in ceremonies in front of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot's Security Building at Igloo.
Hinrichsen and the entire police force are enrolled in the Ground Observers Corps at Igloo and nearly all of them have a record of 750 hours, or more.
Watching the presentation to proud "Pete" are, at left, Second Lt. Edwin G. Gallner of the Filter Center and
Colonel Paul N. Wickens, BHOD's Commanding Officer. On the steps are,
first row: Harry Wing, Alfred Breen, Norman Wynia, Kenneth Stuen, Herbert Goffre.
Second row: Ernest Jeppeson, William Gaebler, Dean Sampsell, Robert Cummings.
Third row: Jay Firnekas, Ronald Wilhelm, Charles Young, Cecil Kruse, Dewey Allgood.
Fourth row: LeRoy F. Lenz, Delaire F. Tusow, Frank Kalal, Albert Balliet, Dale Tusow, Daniel Van Goodman, James Lewin.
Last row: Chief of Police Joe B. Marsh and Lt. S. F. Strange, Provost Marshal.
Others who earned medals, but who were on duty at the time of the ceremony are
Fred F. Bryant, George Cathcart, David R. Forney, Floyd Foster, Melvin W. Heck,
Clair S. Jones, James L. Jones, Edward J. Leary, Maurice S. Miles, Kenneth A. Mowry,
Chester R. Nafziger, Douglas Roberts, Alfred O. Russell, Glen A. Sealey, Roy Solomon,
Jimmie Stroud, Stanley L. Tinsley and Donald W. Underwood.

Igloo: A History of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot


page 45

An important semi-official activity during the post-war period was the Ground Observor Corps plane-spotting program. The Civil Degfense planned the 24-hour spotting program in 1952 and asked for 94 volunteers over the age of 18. The observation tower was on a hill near the hospital; officials considered the location of the depot particularly strategic because it was located on a principal aerial highway between potential aggressors and American industrial centers. Members of the Ground Observor Corps watched for unusual aviation activity which might indicate the presence of foreign forces.

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