Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

GROUND OBSERVER CORPS

Morning Star, January 29, 2006, pg. 11

We conclude our mini-series this month about City of Albion related topics. The threat of terrorist attack is not a new contemporary thing. It was during the 1950s that the “Cold War” was at its height. Civil Defense training was instituted across the country in order to be prepared for any Communist attack, including here in Albion.

Albion’s Civil Defense program included a Ground Observation Corps made up of community volunteers. An observation post was established on the roof of the Parker Inn Hotel, where volunteer observers would watch for Communist airplanes. If a plane had more than two engines, local observers were to call the Grand Rapids Filter Center immediately. The GOC was established nationally in 1950 to help protect the United States from enemy attack. The Albion branch was established in July, 1952. Original leaders included post supervisor Frank Sibal, Jr., and chief observer J. D. Honeywell. Later, George Shideman and H. George Rogers filled those positions, respectively.

On July 9, 1955, the observation post was moved to the roof of City Hall. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photo of the opening of the GOC post at the new City Hall location, where a training session was held that day. Front row, left to right: Albion city councilmen James McIntosh and George Kracko; Grand Rapids Filter Center Staff Sgt. James Guthrie; City Engineer Hugo Rieger; City Clerk John Bentley; Assistant Fire Chief Laurence Burden; Police Chief Harry McAuliffe; and observer Ray Gable.

Second row to the left and right above George Kracko: Civilian Defense Director William Fowler, and (right) GOC Post supervisor Arthur Masse.

Back Row observers: Kenneth Cuatt keeping an alert eye to the sky as he looks to the south; Nancy Globensky; Mayor Charles Hughes; and Nancy Culver. How many of our readers took part in the Ground Observer Corps on top of either the Parker Inn or City Hall in the 1950s?


July 9, 1955, opening of the GOC post at the new City Hall location

Next: ALBION 100 YEARS AGO--FEBRUARY 1906


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