Civil Defense Organization, Insignia, and Ranks
by Ryan Crierie, with assistance provided by Bruce E. Dorsey of Pakuranga, New Zealand.

All artwork, except for the rank insignia, was originally published in a series of Civil Defense publications in the 1940s; and much of the description of the Corps and their duties also comes from those publications.

Civil Defense Branch Insignia

Insignia

Job/Unit

Description/Duties

OR

Staff
Corps

All enrolled civilians assigned to Staff and Administrative duties wear the official emblem of Civilian Defense.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
4 Men, 2 Women

Staff Corps,
National

Personnel assigned to the following offices:

The Office of Civilian Defense, Washington D.C.
Civilian Defense Regional Directors

Are permitted to wear this insignia:

Staff Corps,
State

Personnel assigned to the various State and Local Civil Defense Councils are permitted to wear this insignia.

Drivers
Corps

Persons willing to offer their cars as well as their own time are grouped as a Drivers Corps. Women are often enrolled for this work. Organization by sectional groups, with a Coordinator of Transportation in control, is suggested. Cars and drivers are assigned by the Coordinator to First Aid Squads, Casualty Clearing Stations, Control and Message Centers, and to the staff of the Local Defense Coordinator. Instruction in driving under blackout and other air-raid conditions is necessary. The size of the Corps depends upon the service required by other civilian defense groups. The steering wheel identifies members of the Drivers Corps.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
5 Women

Messenger
Corps

A reliable and efficient messenger group is vital to organization for civilian defense. Messengers are assigned to Air Raid Warden posts, to Control and Message Centers, to hospitals and First Aid posts, to fire stations, and police precincts. Under a rain of bombs, other communications may break down, but the messenger will somehow get the message through. The size of this group depends upon local conditions and available personnel ; the use of boys or girls from 15 to 21 years of age is desirable. Bicycle equipment is useful. Members of the Messenger Corps wear the 'lightning flash" insignia.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
1 Men, 1 Women, 6 Youths

Rescue
Squad

Air attacks provide special problems in the saving of persons caught in burning or shattered buildings, and the turning off of utilities in an emergency. Such responsibilities fall upon the Public Works, Fire, and other appropriate municipal departments. Rescue Squads must be organized to rescue persons trapped in debris and to shut off broken gas, electric, and water lines. Each squad consists of about 10 men, equipped with suitable protective clothing and the necessary tools and equipment for shoring up, tunneling, and minor demolition work and for rendering emergency first aid. The "ladder" identifies members of a Rescue Squad.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
2 Men

Auxiliary Policemen

In many communities, volunteers—men and women— are needed to aid the regular police force in performance of its duties. The number necessary is determined by the Chief of Police. Police functions in which volunteers assist include:

(1 )Enforcement of emergency restrictions on lighting and prohibitions on trespassing
(2) guarding of docks, bridges, and factories to prevent sabotage
(3) traffic duty to facilitate movement of essential vehicles
(4) prevention of looting of partially demolished shops and homes
(5) assistance to air-raid protection services before, during, and after a raid.

Auxiliary Police are properly armed and identified by police shields and brassards.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
4 Men

Bomb
Squad

Some of the bombs dropped in a modern air attack may fail to explode or may have delayed-action fuses. They must be removed at once to a place where they may he exploded without harm. Since this work requires an unusual degree of knowledge, skill, and devotion, it usually falls to a small group of picked men of the regular police force who have been carefully trained for this dangerous work. The airplane identifies members of a Bomb Squad.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
1 Men

Air Raid Warden

The Air Raid Warden is to many people the personal representative of Civilian Defense. He is not a policeman and does not have police powers, hut he usually functions as part of the police force and with its help.

An Air Raid Warden's post is organized to serve a unit of 500 people. It is accessible and plainly marked. Since at least one person is always on duty, four Air Raid Wardens usually are assigned to each post.

The Air Raid Warden's duties include:
(1) Observing lights showing during a blackout and warning occupants of the building
(2) directing persons in the street to shelter
(3) reporting to the control center any fallen bombs
(4) reporting fires to the control center and assisting in lighting incendiary bombs as soon as they fall
(5) detecting and reporting to the control center the presence of gas
(6) administering elementary first aid
(7) assisting victims in damaged buildings.

The Air Raid Warden is chosen carefully. The position of Air Raid Warden may be filled either by a man or woman, provided the person chosen is capable of performing the duties. One of the most important duties is to set an example of controlled activity and cool efficiency under all conditions. Training is given all Air Raid Wardens in gas and fire-bomb defense, first aid, and general organization of air-raid services.

The stripes in the insignia of Air Raid Wardens signify "many duties."

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
6 Men, 2 Women

Auxiliary Firemen

Since fire is one of the greatest threats in air attack, augmentation of the regular fire-fighting forces is necessary. A practical plan, used in Britain and already under way in a number of American cities, is the establishment of three auxiliary fire stations around each existing engine company. One officer or first-grade fireman is placed in charge of each auxiliary fire station and up to 30 enrolled volunteers, assigned on the platoon system, are allotted at each such station.

Auxiliary Firemen must be men of good character and physique, not subject to military draft. Their duties are similar to those of the regular fire-fighting forces. In addition to identifying insignia showing the maltese cross, they are equipped with suitable protective clothing similar to that worn by the regular forces.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
4 Men

Fire
Watchers

The menace of the fire bomb calls for unceasing vigilance and prompt, intelligent action. Fighting incendiary bombs as they fall is a duty in winch all able-bodied citizens need training.

After the Fire Department has trained its own auxiliary forces, it instructs citizens in the area under each Air Raid Warden's post in the method of fighting fire bombs. The Air Raid Warden of each post then selects and enrolls the most alert and suitable persons to act as Fire Watchers. The number depends upon the character of neighborhood. During an air-raid alarm, the Watchers take up posts on roofs, in doorways, and at other vantage points in order to spot and reach fallen bombs quickly. The "'new flame" identifies Fire Watchers.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
10 Men

Demolition and Clearance Crew

After an air raid, Streets may be filled with rubble, walls of partially demolished buildings may tilt dangerously, and streets may be blocked by bomb craters. Husky crews of enrolled volunteers, added to existing clearance forces, remove rubble from the streets and fill craters made by bombs or broken pavements. They are provided with equipment to dynamite unsafe walls and buildings. These crews operate ordinarily under the Public Works Department. They wear "the pick"' insignia.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
2 Men

Road Repair
Crew

Street or road repair crews, augmented by civilian volunteers, restore normal flow of traffic as rapidly as possible after an air raid. These crews operate ordinarily under the Street or Public Works Department following up the rough clearance of the demolition squads. They smooth the road surfaces, repave with available material and restore road markings. They wear "the shovel" insignia.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
2 Men

Decontamination
Squad

The possibility that an attacking enemy may use war gas makes a Decontamination Corps necessary. Provision must be made for special treatment of clothing and equipment and also for chemical neutralization of streets and walls contaminated by the persistent liquids known as '"blister gases" or vesicants. Specialized training and equipment are needed for this work. Instructors for the local defense organization receive training at Civilian Defense Schools conducted by the War Department. The Health Department is particularly concerned with decontamination work. Members of the Decontamination Corps are identified by insignia showing the chemical retort.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
1 Men

Emergency Food and Housing Corps

Food and shelter must be provided for those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by air raid or other disaster. Usually the Welfare Department has general responsibility for coordinating such emergency services. It is assisted by enrolled personnel and private organizations equipped to render assistance. Qualified women often are enrolled for the Emergency Food and Housing Corps, identified by the "coffee cup" insignia.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
1 Women

Medical
Corps

In the event of an air raid or any oilier disaster, the care of the injured will he the responsibility of Medical Field Units. These Field Units are organized by hospitals and are composed of several squads of physicians, nurses, and nursing auxiliaries. Upon receiving the alarm from the Control Center, a medical emergency squad or squads will proceed to the scene of the disaster and will set up a Casualty Station at a designated site. When necessary, a team of one or more physicians, nurses, and nurses' aides may be dispatched from the Casualty Station to establish a subsidiary First Aid post at another appropriate site.

All enrolled personnel assigned to the work of the Emergency Medical Service (Medical Field Units) are entitled to wear the Caduceus symbol. The insignia for physicians will be the Caduceus surmounted by the initials M. D. and for registered nurses by the initials R. N.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
1 Men, 2 Women

Nurses'
Aides Corps

Volunteer Nurses' Aides are intended to assist the nurse so that she may be able to serve a greater number of patients. Special training by the Red Cross is necessary before women volunteers can serve in this field. Upon completion of this course of training, which has been prepared by the Office of Civilian Defense in collaboration with the American National Red Cross, Volunteer Nurses' Aides will become eligible to assist in wards and out-patient clinics of hospitals, or in visiting nurse, public health, industrial hygiene, and school health services.

Training courses must be satisfactorily completed before Volunteer Nurses' Aides may wear the Corps symbol. This is a Red Cross in the Civilian Defense triangle and circle. It indicates that the Nurses1 Aide has been trained by the Red Cross as a volunteer civilian defense worker.

Nurses' Aides who are members of Emergency Medical Field Units may wear the Caduceus symbol of Civilian Defense.

Trained members of the First Aid Corps of an industrial plant, business organization, or State or municipal department will also be entitled to wear the Red Cross on the triangle and circle of Civilian Defense. Its use is authorized only for those who have received a First Aid Certificate as evidence that they have completed the standard or advanced course in First Aid.

Percentage of Personnel required per 1,000 of Population:
6 Women

Forest Fire Fighters Service
(1942-?)

To assist in safeguarding forest lands and other timber facilities and resources, to aid in prevention and suppression of fires which might endanger such facilities and resources, and to minimize the effects of any such fires. Its functions shall be to aid in Nation-wide forest fire prevention education and to enroll volunteer fire fighters for service in forest and rural areas. It shall cooperate with the forest fire protection agencies of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, with State forestry officials and private forest fire protective organizations.

Instructors Unit

The Instructors Unit gives courses of training and instruction to units of the Defense Corps. Its membership is restricted to persons who have satisfactorily completed prescribed and approved courses of training and instruction. Appointment to the unit is made by the Local Defense Council on the basis of ability to perform prescribed duties.

Civil Air Patrol

The Civil Air Patrol was organized to serve the armed forces and the government by rendering patrol, reconnaissance and ferrying services not being done by military and commercial aviation groups. Civilian pilots, whose record and qualifications are approved, may become members of this group. The Civil Air Patrol is broken up into regional commands. The Regions have State Wings, which are made up of one or more groups. Within the groups there are from two to five squadrons. The basic insignia of the Civil Air Patrol consists of a propeller within a triangle in a circle. Pilots of the CAP wear Pilots Wings. Observer Wings are authorized for persons qualified.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Organized under the Office of Civil Defense on 01 December 1941, just before Pearl Harbor.

CAP fliers flew ASW patrols off the US Coasts, sinking a few U-Boats in the process, border patrols between the US and Mexico, Forestry Patrols to sight forest fires, performed courier services for the government, and towed targets for aerial gunnery training.

On 29 April 1943, the War Department took over the CAP, due to their usefulness, and they became an official auxiliary arm of the US Army Air Force. Under this takeover, the CAP insignia on aircraft was slightly modified, with the addition of “U.S.” to the insignia, so that the CAP aircrew would NOT be legally considered guerrillas if they were shot down by U-Boats and captured.

Continues as an auxiliary arm of the US Air Force today.

Citizens Service Corps

The U. S. Citizens Service Corps will be supervised nationally by the Civilian Mobilization Branch of the OCD. Members of the Citizens Service Corps must take an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States and to perform all duties to which they are assigned.


Christian


Jewish

Chaplain

The Chaplains Unit is not, strictly speaking, a protective service, but it is classed as a related service. Chaplains will administer to the religious and spiritual needs of persons suffering from the effects of air raids or other disaster.

The insignia for the Christian Chaplain has a Latin Cross in the traditional OCD background.

The Jewish Chaplain has an insignia consisting of the six-pointed star above the "Tables of the Law" inside the traditional OCD background. Both of these designs follow the insignia in use for Chaplains in the armed forces.

Utility Repair Units

Members of Utility Repair Units operate in case of emergency under the command of the U.S. Citizens Defense Corps in each community. They repair water, gas, electric, telephone, steam and other utility services damaged by air raids or other disaster.

Pressmen

Public Relations people, who were allowed to attend emergencies to write up what happened, and to do so in a manner that made Civil Defense look good (TM).

Evacuation Corps

(Existence
Vague)

People who helped evacuate people from disaster sites.

NOTE: No known existing example of this insignia has been found; only a brief drawing and description of it. It is quite possible that this was a proposed Corps, and the duties proposed for it were instead assigned to another Corps.

Civil Defense Auxiliary Group

Included in the Civilian Defense Auxiliary Group are doctors, nurses, reporters, press photographers and such other people who because of their occupation should be eligible to be on the streets and perform their duties during blackouts or air raids.



Ranks and Insignia

RANK/INSIGNIA

U.S. Army
Equivalent Rank

Private First Class

NCO

Lieutenant

Captain

Major

Colonel

B. General

M. General

Lt. General

General

Air Raid
Warden

First
Class

Senior or
Sector Warden

Zone
Leader

Group
Leader

Chief
Warden

State
Warden

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Auxiliary
Firemen

First
Class

Squad
Leader

Platoon
Leader

Company
Leader

Fire
Chief

State Fire
Coordinator

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Auxiliary
Policemen

First
Class

Squad
Leader

Platoon
Leader

Company
Leader

Chief of Police

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Bomb
Squad

First
Class

Squad
Leader

NO RANK

Company
Leader

Chief of Police

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Rescue
Squad

First
Class

Squad
Leader

Depot
Leader

Company
Leader

Fire
Chief

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Medical
Field Units

First
Class

Team
Leader

Squad
Leader

Unit
Leader

Chief of
EMS

State
Medical Director

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Medical
Auxiliaries
(stretcher teams)

First
Class

Team
Leader

Squad
Leader

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Nurses'
Aides

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Emergency Food & Housing Corps

First
Class

Unit
Leader

Depot
Leader

Group
Leader

Chief
Warden

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Drivers'
Units

First
Class

Convoy
Leader

Depot
Leader

Group
Leader

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Messengers

First
Class

Senior
Messenger

Platoon
Leader

Group
Leader

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Road Repair
Crews

First
Class

Crew
Leader

Depot
Leader

Group
Leader

Chief of
Emergency Works

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Demolition & Clearance Crews

First
Class

Crew
Leader

Depot
Leader

Group
Leader

Chief of
Emergency Works

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Decontamination
Squads

First
Class

Squad
Leader

Station
Leader

Group
Leader

Chief of
Emergency Works

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Fire
Watchers

First
Class

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Repair
Crews

First
Class

Crew
Leader

Service
Leader

NO RANK

Chief of
Utilities

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

Local
Staff

First
Class

As
Required

As
Required

As
Required

Controller

Commander

Coordinator

NO RANK

NO RANK

NO RANK

State
Staff

First
Class

As
Required

As
Required

As
Required

As
Designated

As
Designated

Assistant
Coordinator

Coordinator

NO RANK

NO RANK

National
Staff

First
Class

As
Required

As
Required

As
Required

As
Required

As
Designated

As
Designated

As
Designated

Regional Director
or
Assistant Directors

U.S. Director

NOTES

Ranks with this Background are assigned by the Red Cross to the Chief of Emergency Medical Service.



Organization of Civil Defense

Administrative
Group

Insignia

Corps

Operating Unit

Size of
Operating Unit

Equipment of
Operating Unit

Command
Post

Staff
(Not Including Command)

Control Center, etc

Variable

Office, Communications, Maps, Files, etc

Messenger
Service

Individual

Assigned to Corps

NONE.
Messengers furnish own transportation.

Drivers'
Corps

Individual

Assigned to Corps

NONE.
Drivers furnish own transportation.

Fire
Department

Auxiliary
Fireman

Generally
Auxiliary
Fire Station

6 to 10 men

Portable or truck-mounted pumper with hose

Rescue
Squad

Rescue Squad

10 men

Tools and transport for demolition, shoring, first aid, etc. operations

Police
Department

Auxiliary
Police

Platoon

30 men

NONE

Bomb
Squad

Squad

4 men

Excavating tools
Derrick truck
Special tools.

Warden's
Division

Air Raid
Wardens

Post

4 to 6 men

Desks, chairs, typewriters, first aid kit, gas alarm, radio, flashlights, etc

Fire
Watchers

Sector Groups

5 to 24 men

Sand Buckets
Scoops
Spray bucket/pumps

Emergency
Medical
Division

Medical
Personnel

First Aid Post
Stretcher Teams
Clearing Stations
Hospitals

Variable

First Aid kits of various sizes

Nurses/Aides

As assigned

Variable

Variable

Public Works
Emergency
Division

Demolition & Clearance Crews

Truck Company

6 to 24 men

1 to 4 Trucks
Picks and Shovels for 6
Demolition Equipment

Road Repair
Crews

Truck Company

4 to 16 men

1 to 4 Trucks
Road Tools
Resurfacer
Paints
Carpenter's Tools

Decontamination
Squads

Spray Truck Unit

4 to 6 men

Water Tank
Flusher
Chloride of Lime
Brushes, Shovels, etc

Bibliography:
Enrolled Volunteer Worker Groups for Civilian Protection, Office of Civilian Defense – August 4, 1941
United States Citizen Defense Corps (Unknown Date)