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ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


Illinois at War, 1941-1945

A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives


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DOCUMENT 8
COMMUNICATION FROM THE NEPONSET SPORTSMEN'S CLUB CONCERNING CIVIL DEFENSE
March 23, 1942




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Explanation

Homer G. Bradney, vice-chairman of the Civil Protection Division of the Illinois State Council of Defense, replied to this communication on March 27, as follows:

    I have your letter of March 23 regarding your Club and the part it could play in Civilian Defense.

    I think you should understand that Civilian Defense is what the term implies and means "passive defense for civilians." The operation of anti-airplane units, or active defense against enemy troops, is a function of the Military: and, apparently, there is no place in the Civilian Defense organization for a unit such as anti-paratroop corps.

    Your interest is appreciated and I know you and the members of your Club are desirous of contributing to the Civilian Defense effort. I should like to suggest that the members of your organization volunteer your services to either your Local or County Defense unit. It may be your Club could be used as Auxiliary Police.

Bradney's remarks were correct as they applied to the Illinois State Council of Defense. They failed to address however, the Illinois Reserve Militia (IRM). The Illinois National Guard was federalized in early 1941 in response to the growing war threat. As the last of the National Guard units were being absorbed into the U.S. Army, the governor proclaimed the formation of the IRM as a home guard on February 28, 1941. This volunteer force was authorized by federal legislation which placed it loosely under the supervision of the Secretary of War. Composed generally of men otherwise unfit for regular military service, the IRM consisted of several thousand part-time soldiers throughout the war years. They provided valuable assistance in protecting lives and property on the occasions of floods, fires, and tornadoes. But none were ever called upon to confront enemy paratroopers.

Points to Consider

Locate Neponset on a map.

Describe the likely activities of the Neponset Sportsmen's Club.

Why might civil authorities not have welcomed a home guard of sportsmen?

Why were enemy paratroopers expected near Neponset in early 1942?

See Related Document: 2


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