b'.Civil Air Patrol continued from page 27 The planes of these subchasersmostly Stinsons George C. Marshall to say, The losses by submarines offand Fairchildswere painted red and yellow with special our Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean now threaten ourmarkings (a blue circle with a white triangle) to identify them entire war effort. as CAP aircraft. They were equipped with only a compass for Something had to be done to stop the carnage. The stagenavigation and a single radio for communication.was set for these civilian founders to come to the aid of theirPatrols were conducted up to 60 miles off shore, generally country. with two planes flying together. Flights were made daily In response to the ever-increasing submarine attacks, thedespite the weather, and in all seasons, including the winter, Tanker Committee of the Petroleum Industry War Councilwhen ditching an aircraft in cold seas could mean certain urged the Navy Department and the War Department todeath to the aircrews.consider the use of CAP to help patrol Americas sea lanes.Emergency equipment was often lacking, particularly While the Navy initially rejected this suggestion, the Armyduring the earliest patrols, where inner tubes and kapok decided it had merit, and the coastal patrols began in earnestduck hunter vests were carries as flotation devices. Atin March 1942. By late March 1942, the Navy also beganthe time, ocean-worthy wet suits, life vests and life rafts using the services of CAP. were unavailable.Oil companies and other organizations provided funds toDespite these conditions, the patrols were an immediate help pay for some CAP operations, including vitally neededsuccess. Renowned subchaser Eddie Edwards was perhaps shore radios for monitoring the missions. But most the first CAP pilot to spot a Nazi U-boat. As instructed, he of the aircraft and emergency equipment were furnishedradioed the subs position to naval forces, prompting the by the civilians who had taken up the cause of defendingvessel to crash-dive and head farther out to sea, where it was Americas shores. Their mission was to report enemy subs less of a menace to the nations shipping.to the military and to drive them farther underwater, whereThe subchasers flew daily from dawn to dusk, logging they would be forced to slow down and use their limitedmore than 24 million miles from 21 Coastal Patrol bases battery power. along Americas shores. They hunted U-boats from Maine So many subs were spotted that the decision was soonto Mexico. And they were quite successful, reporting 173 made to arm CAPTs light airAMC craft with small bombs and itssuspected subs and attacking 57.Contract # 5129Their effectiveness at deterring coastal U-boat operations 2020 Military Appreciation Resource Bookges. was instrumental in eventually making Civil Air Patrol the larger aircraft with 325-pound depth charofficial auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. By mid-July 1942, German Adm. Karl Doenitz, commander of all Nazi U-boats, withdrew his last submarines from Americas shoresafter increasing losses and reduced success againstmerchant traffic.Along with his notoriety as one of the very first subchasers, Edwards held celebrity status within CAP as one of the first two Coastal Patrol pilots awarded the Air Medal for heroism during World War II. He and his commanding officer,Maj. Hugh R. Sharp Jr., each received the medal in February 1943 after President Roosevelt heard of their daring rescue of a fellow airman downed in bitterly cold high seas off Maryland.Edwards, in an interview in 2006, clearly remembered the rescue of 1st Lt. Henry Cross, which earned him the medal and subchaser fame. I got the call that one of our planes was down, and Maj. Sharp asked me to go with him, Edwards said. We had no trouble finding the crash site. We spotted a body, so we made an emergency landing and fished him out. He was alive, but we never found the other guy.The rescue on July 21, 1942, required that Edwards and Sharp land their aircraft, a Sikorsky S-39 single-engine amphibian piloted by Sharp, in 8- to 10-foot-high swells, which crushed the left pontoon. So, to get back to Base 2, Edwards accomplished a daring feat by climbing out onto the right wing and using his weight to level the plane. He clung there, half-frozen, through the night until early the next day when a Coast Guard boat water-taxied the unflyable aircraft to shore.28 Military Appreciation Resource Magazine Thank You For Your Service'