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Coast Guard

Middle Island Mail

January 27. 1941
Coast Guard and A. L. Volunteers Combine In Airplane Spotting


  A practical four-day test of an aircraft warning signal system got under way at 6 a.m. yesterday, when Coast Guardsmen and American Legionnaires and other citizens in the four states comprising the New York – New England area began observations in the search for “enemy” bombers participating in the trial.

   In Suffolk County alone, besides the Coast Guard stations, there will be several scores of observation posts.  In each of the latter, Legionnaires will take turns listening and watching as part of their contribution to the system.

   The observers have been instructed that when airplanes are seen or heard note should be taken of the exact time, direction of the airplanes from the observation post, the number of  planes observed, types of planes, approximate altitude, and direction in which the planes were traveling.

   The observer then picks up the telephone in the observation post and calls the headquarters of the air defense command at Mitchell field, with which he is connected by special service provided by the telephone company.  The observation facts are noted on a master plan to determine the general movement of airplane formations.

   A total of about 10,000 civilians and Coast Guardsmen, manning 650 to 700 observation stations from the top of the Empire State building to Cape Cod, will be scattered across the 18,000-square-mile area, comprising New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, a section vital to the nation because of its industry.

   There will be no spectacular mass air formations, as only about 35 defending planes and about 15 bombers will operate in the entire test.  The primary purpose of an aircraft warning service-and the one receiving its test at present will be the nucleus of the first permanent one in the United States, is to give warning of and enemy bombing attack in ample time to allow defending pursuit planes to take to the air and intercept the bombers before they reach their objectives.

   In the current test, Patchogue Legionnaires will maintain observation posts at the Domino Yacht club in East Patchogue and at the Patchogue Police pistol range on Shaber Street.  Other posts to be used in this area will be at Yaphank, Sayville, Bohemia, Lake Ronkonkoma, Medford, Center Moriches, Port Jefferson, Sound Beach, Smithtown, Riverhead, Calverton, Westhampton Beach and in every other village of any size in the county.

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