UNITED STATES STATES AIR FORCE GROUND OBSERVER CORPS:  United States. 1949-1958.  Initial efforts toward the organization of a post-World War II Ground Observer Corps in the United States were undertaken as early as 1949.  In September 1949, Operation Lookout, a test of the concept of ground observers for continental defense, demonstrated that observers could detect, recognize and identify, report, and track hostile aircraft penetrating United States airspace.  Weaknesses were identified during Operation Lookout that were subsequently corrected as the basis for activation of Operation Skywatch, the 24 hour a day coverage by the Ground Observer Corps, on 14 July 1952.  With the achievement of operational status by the Mid-Canada Line radar barrier in January 1958, the Ground Observer Corps was released from 24 hour operations to a ready reserve status.  The Corps was finally deactivated in January 1959.

Sources: United States, Department of the Air Force, Aircraft Recognition for the Ground Observer, AF Manual 355-10, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America, Von Hoffmann Press, 1955.  United States, Department of the Air Force, Ground Observers' Guide, AF Manual 50-12, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America, Universal Printing Company, 1951. Federation of American Scientists, "NORAD Selected Chronology," location http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/airdef/norad-chron.htm, accessed 15 September 2003.

Entry 03112 - posted 8 October 2003