CITIZENS’ DEFENSE CORPS ORGANIZATION:  United States. World War II.  The Citizens’ Defense Corps was the organization within Civil Defense responsible for actual operations to protect a community from air raids.  At the local jurisdiction level this organization was lead by a Commander, assisted by a staff consisting of the Chiefs of Fire and Police, the Chief Air Raid Warden, the Chief of Emergency Medical Services, the Chief of Emergency Work Services, and the Chief of Utilities.  The Commander’s deputy was the Executive Officer.  This staff managed the 15 enrolled volunteer services that provided the volunteer Civil Defense force for the community:

 

Air Raid Wardens – managed passive defense actions in a sector that theoretically included the homes of 500 people.  The Air Raid Warden emblem was a blue disc with a triangle of seven alternate red and white diagonal stripes.

 

Auxiliary Firemen – supplemented the staffing of the community’s regular fire department.  The Auxiliary Fireman emblem was a blue disc with a red Maltese cross.

 

Auxiliary Policemen – supplemented the staffing of the community’s regular police department.  The Auxiliary Policeman emblem was a blue disc with a red shield.

 

Bomb Squads – composed of personnel trained to locate, extract, and dispose of unexploded bombs (either because of failure or because the bomb had a detonator operating on a timer).  The Bomb Squad emblem was a blue disc with a red silhouette of an aircraft nose down.

 

Rescue Squads – crews of approximately 10 personnel trained and equipped for heavy rescue from debris.  The Rescue Squad emblem was a blue disc with a red ladder.

 

Medical Forces – doctors, trained nurses, stretcher bearers and other assistants organized as first aid parties, stretcher bearers, and staff of first aid stations.  The Medical emblem was a blue disc with a red caduceus.

 

Nurses’ Aides – individuals trained by the Red Cross to assist nurses.  The Nurses’ Aide emblem was a blue disc with a red cross.

 

Emergency Food and Housing Corps – individuals who provide welfare services for the needy and those rendered homeless by the attack.  The Emergency Food and Housing Corps emblem was a blue disc with a red coffee cup.

 

Drivers Units – formed of personnel trained to drive Civil Defense vehicles.  The Drivers Unit emblem was a blue disc with a red steering wheel.

 

Messengers – personnel assigned to carry dispatches, messages, and supplies to their destinations.  The Messenger emblem was a blue disc with a red lightning bolt.

 

Road Repair Crews – crews assigned to restore the roads and normal traffic movement as quickly as possible.  The Road Repair emblem was a blue disc with a red shovel.

 

Utility Repair Crews – crews assigned to restore critical utilities as quickly as possible.  The Utility Repair emblem was a blue disc with a red electrical pliers.

 

Demolition and Clearance Crews – crews assigned to remove debris and rubble from an attack, demolish unsafe structures, and fill in bomb craters.  The Demolition and Clearance emblem was a blue disc with a red pick axe, blade down.

 

Decontamination Squad – personnel trained to decontaminate structures, equipment, and individuals’ clothing after a gas attack.  The Decontamination Squad emblem was a blue disc with a red retort.

 

Fire Watchers – individuals trained to spot and immediately extinguish incendiary bombs during an attack.  The Fire Watcher emblem was a blue disc with a red flame.

 

Sources: “Civil Defense Emblems: Armband Emblems of World War II,” The Trading Post, Volume 30, Number 2, American Society of Military Insignia Collectors, January-March 1971, pages 77-78.  United States, Office of Civilian Defense, A Handbook for Demolition and Clearance Crews, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1941.

 

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