When it comes to the battles of World War II most people will immediately think of conflicts against the Axis Powers in Europe, the Pacific Theater of War against the Japanese and on the off chance the confrontations in Africa. Not many people know that the United States of America was also a battleground for the War and we suffered several attacks from the Germans and were almost invaded.
In 1942 German U-boats stationed outside the waters of New York City were responsible for sinking over 50 American ships per month and the news gave no coverage of these attacks to ensure that citizens felt safe at home. Soon those same citizens would take action against the U-boats as a group of pilots known as The Civil Air Patrol.
“They were sworn into an organization with semi-military identity and they did fly out with a certain amount of perimeter of the United States but they were hybridized, they were joint civilian-military. It was essentially as if you had a bunch of private pilots of the day who decided they would bolt bombs underneath civilian light planes and fly out to do an armed action on behalf of the United States Government and they did.”
– Roger Theil
From the period of March 1942 until September 1942 the Civil Air Patrol had reduced submarine attacks on merchant ships from over 50 per month to zero. The volunteer pilots of the CAP numbered almost 1,700 members and completely drove off the Kriegsmarine from American waters. In an interview with historian Roger Theil, we take a deeper look into the pilots who kept our coast safe from enemy attack.