CLENT BREEDLOVE
CIVILIAN PILOT TRAINING PROGRAM
PRE-FLIGHTS PROGRAM
1939-1945

Plainview PGS Article 49



Security on the Home Front was of High Importance in WWII


By John W. McCullough, Graduate Student in History, Texas Tech University

This is the 49th article about Clent Breedlove’s Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field.

Acts of vandalism in West Texas or other parts of the nation during the war years were often attributed to simple home-grown adult crime, the black market, or juvenile delinquency; however, the possibility always existed that such crimes were the act of saboteurs or enemy sympathizers.

Such vandalism occurred on the night of February 7, 1943 when three grass fires were deliberately set both on the north and south edges of Plainview.

“Fire Chief A. M. Hamilton said he suspected the fires were set deliberately and it was determined, he said, that the blazes were not set by the property owners,” the Herald stated.

Such grass fires, the chief continued, could possibly prevent firemen from answering calls for fires at residences or businesses in town.

“Police Chief Hoyt Curry said his department was cooperating in efforts to apprehend anyone who might set a grass fire on property other than his own and asserted that if apprehended the offender could expect a severe penalty,” the Herald continued.

Aiding the police and fire department in keeping the Plainview area safe during the war was the Plainview Defense Guard.  This home guard unit was composed of local men who drilled in uniform, provided their own weapons, and met regularly.

They were similar to the British Home Guard which was charged with helping defend Great Britain should invasion occur.

Most communities around the nation had a defense guard or home guard unit to assist the police and fire departments with maintaining security and safety on the home front.

An article from the February 10, 1943 edition of the Herald, stated that the Plainview defense guardsmen “were hosts last night to their ladies at a supper at the city auditorium.”

“The meal was prepared by Captain Ted Andrews and served by guardsmen following preliminary drill.  There was 89 guardsmen and guests present.”

The Plainview Defense Guardsmen company was composed of two platoons noted the article.

Maintaining security on the ground was only a part of the job that needed to be done to ensure the protection of facilities, vehicles, equipment, and people.

Many years before the United States’ entry into the Second World War, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was started in response to what some private citizens saw as an ever-increasing threat from foreign air forces and navies.

According to Frank A. Burnham in his 1974 book entitled Hero Next Door, the CAP was created to help fill in the gap in air power between the United States and foreign powers.

“In the years just prior to the outbreak of World War II, concern that the United States was sadly lacking in airpower began to mount among the more than 128,000 licensed pilots and nearly 15,000 aircraft mechanics.”

“There was substance for their concern.  Despite the fact that aviation was conclusively proven to be a powerful weapon during the latter part of the First World War, it fared very badly in the hands of the military traditionalists during the post-war period.” (p22)

The CAP’s primary mission during the war years was to patrol the shoreline looking for enemy ships and submarines and to patrol the US-Mexico border to prevent enemy agents or saboteurs from crossing into the United States.

However, local communities in the interior of the nation, such as Plainview, had their own CAP squadron.

“The D-1 squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, composed of fliers at Plainview, Lockney, and Floydada, is above the average in flying personnel in the state, according to Captain E. B. Germany of the wing commanders staff of Texas,” said the Herald on February 26, 1943.

“Capt. Germany is going over records of the home squadron Wednesday night at a gathering of Plains personnel at Lubbock commended the tri-community organization highly.”

“T. C. Meinecke, 1st Lieut., CAP, is commander of squadron D-1 and was justly proud of his unit’s showing when compared with the average over Texas.”

“Purposes of the Civil Air Patrol composed of volunteer civilian fliers include work auxiliary to the armed services and organization to preserve civil aviation for the post-war period.  CAP pilots patrol hundreds of miles of the Mexico border and are frequently called on for special missions such as flying mail and other routine duties.”
“Since the CAP was organized fourteen months ago, eight members of squadron D-1 have gone into some capacity relating to the war effort, as instructors or as fliers in civilian capacities.”

“The squadron is supposed to be in uniform and officers have their insignia, silver propeller and wings with the letters C.A.P., to distinguish them from regular air force.  The local squadron does not have uniforms.”

“Meinecke is of the opinion that Army direction ‘will just make a better CAP all the way around’ and is not at all averse to seeing the Army inject some “must” into his section of the homefront war effort.”

Six months before Clent Breedlove started operations at the Plainview pre-glider school he was named by the eastern wing command that he had been appointed the group commander for the Lubbock area of the Civil Air Patrol, according the Lubbock Morning-Avalanche on January 1, 1942.

“No one at this moment can foresee the complete variety of uses in which the Civil Air Patrol can be employed by the military services or other government agencies,” Breedlove said.

More about the history of Finney Field will be discussed in the next article.

Readers are asked to visit the Breedlove-CPTP website at www.breedlove-cptp.com for more details about the glider program of WWII.

Anyone with information about the Plainview Pre-Glider School at Finney Field should contact John McCullough at (806)793-4448 or email johnmc@breedlove-cptp.org.