National Museum of Civil Defense

Nicholas Studer

PCS Elected Director 2022-2025
PCS Friends - I wished to take a moment to note that earlier this year, a long-standing goal of creating a museum for the US Civil Defense program finally came together. The National Museum of Civil Defense is the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the US Civil Defense program (1941-1997).

We plan to provide new content on Facebook/Instagram once/twice weekly. Yes, professional cars will be featured among this content along with many other period-appropriate medical discussions. The Office of Civilian Defense was the first to describe "Emergency Medical Services" in 1942. If you are on Facebook/Instagram - we'd greatly appreciate if you would consider "liking" the page to see all content, as only professional car related posts will be shared on the PCS Facebook Groups/Pages.

Other projects include a semi-annual historical column in the Journal of Civil Defense (published continuously since 1968), Oral History interviews (do you know anyone who participated in CD and would like to tell their story?), and artifact preservation of course. We have a very large collection of artifacts, which predates my interest in professional cars. Our Advisory Board is helping guide our Strategic Plan which I hope to have out soon.

I've advised President Steinberg that the NMCD would enjoy affiliating with the PCS.


Pretty sure I can hook you into a man who wrote a book on CD in Rochester NY centered around the 2 Heavy Rescue units located in Rochester & Greece.

Rochester was a center of CD activity due to Defense plants in the WW and after.

Much of Rochester regions public safety radio was paid for by CD as well, it was a rock ribbed Republican area and magnet for CD bucks. Sterling Siren being located in Rochester didn't hurt one bit when it came to rolling out a county wide siren system connected via Fire Alarm's hardwire with Motorola Z tone radio link to suburbs.
Rochester is the home of a surviving Chrysler siren as well. The people who could explain where the second Chrysler disappeared to are long buried. Never did get around to counting how many Sterlings are still in place, the wire system is long gone, but I bet if I can get into a basement room I can trigger a horizontal 5 into action.

Yes, I do still grin at the mental pic of Mom wearing out her CatPaw cuban heals walking around the block in her repainted & decaled WW-1 surplus steel pot with whistle at the ready should she spot a house showing light thru the blackout curtains. She was absolutely sure Frank from 2 doors up the street would ride up on his rusty bicycle to back her. She got additional ration stamps for replacement heals because she walked the block.

Thankfully many newspapers survived of the time and are now on line to supplement my memory.

Lord it really was a different world.

Link to EV- Greece Vol Ambulance first radio and base station were provided by CD, with decals.
World- we got a problem.
I have conversed with Buzzard on the subject of publishing his book on CD Heavy Rescue in Rochester. I should probably point out Buzzard is the man who hired me many years back with the phrase he had no idea why he needed me but had 4 people telling him he did so I best get to making the company money. He signed the front of my checks for 17 years and every 1 made a one way trip to the bank. I proffer typing "Buzzard" into a search engine would produce his picture on the first page. Never in any of those years of more nose to nose arguments did either of us back down, You got a case, make your case was the standard, and no hard feelings. Most times those discussions resulted in "damned if it didn't work" as the job wrapped. When Sue said it would be nice to answer her phone "Unscrew Corp, what ya mess up and how soon you figure we need to get there" she got it and customers loved using it. 15 years on the Job Buzzard crashed and looked like he might spiral in. That afternoon Sue fired off "Cut cable and haul" to Phil running a job in S Carolina, and he was on the way. 8 days later Buzzard commandeered the ICU conference room and signed the papers turning the corporation over to the people who built it with him. He swore he felt better as the ink dried.

That established, Buzzard has taken the position Absolutely Nothing goes to FaceBook till that dump is plowed, salted and replowed. I didn't need to ask why.

You have another place to post the story I can probably get it authorized, but there is no hope when it comes to FaceBook.

I hold a sadness as I report this, as it is certainly a story that should be known to those interested, especially those who came along later and didn't directly know the time. Rochester was definitely a Target city with an Army Colonel who had an office in the interface telephone building where long distance wires met local lines and Autovon wires passed through. For youngsters wondering, ALL phones other than Autovon were shut down when JFK was shot, I witnessed it happening, and they remained down for about 20 minutes. Sad as I am, I'll not go against Buzzard in this decision. "Man either stands his ground or the man ain't worth spit" comes to mind.

Sorry guys, I fail time to time.
Walter - We have other means of distribution. If it's long enough, it can go in the Journal of Civil Defense. Feel free to e-mail.
Haven't forgotten you NIck, I actually started looking into this "book" for your desired intent.

Problem is it is written moreor less as a journal by the man who lived it over a few year period. I've known Buzzard for more than 50 years, and I'll bet my last Dollar if he says something happened it did. I'm also pretty sure he was born with a wrench in one hand and a sledge hammer in the other.

Second problem, I'm pretty sure it's over 100 pages. Fortunately most of those named are now dead so no potential litigation exists.

Worse problem is I can't connect with anybody in a local historical group who has some of the pictures I know existed.

A quick read of the first section brought back memories.. Even back in 60 politicians weren't smart enough to not ask for questions. "So after we hide out in a bunker for 14 days, get the rigs running, raid a hardware store for tools we need, find 100 gallons of water we can drink, and get moving, who do you expect us to Rescue, bearing in mind there will probably be a maximum of 6 men on each rig?"
It was a different time in a different world in the town where Eastman Kodak employed 70,000 and everybody was sure Kodak would be a target.
We even had a state of the art poured concrete combination hockey rink/bomb shelter right downtown that would easily hold 2000 people.
Walter I absolutely *love* the way you write! You seem like a man full of stories, experiences, and a great sense of humor. Anything that you write and I will be among the first to read it at first opportunity.
In my defense, I spent years collecting a paycheck for sitting in a comfortable office usually with my dog, probably should explain it was a dog friendly company, translating between customer engineers and purchasing agents and some very skilled mechanics. This is my 40th year of poking information into a computer, perhaps I've gotten good at it. Our company had figured out the 2 groups absolutely do NOT speak the same language, and it was safest and more profitable for me to be in the middle. It well may have lowered blood pressure and stress on our side. I found ways to make things happen, and wore out a FAX machine in the process. I should probably throw in Sue who really ran the office, and sent out a few hundred Birthday cards a year to other secretaries & their kids, made the comment one day she'd love to answer the phone "Unscrew, what'd ya break and how fast you need us there". A week later letters had gone out to Priority customers (fast bill payers) with the number they could call for immediate service. You know what desk that lit up on and you know how Sue answered. There is much to be said for the value of comedy in emerging service disasters.

I gain my observation skills from my Grandmother who taught me young to see all I could as it laid before my eyes by standing in front f her window for a minute or 2 then turning and telling her everything I saw. She also taught me to remember rather than relearn and pay twice. That skillset seems rare in the world.

Unless you've experienced the world of writing instructions you have no idea of that nightmare. Doors in industrial settings are numbered and colored lines are on floors because they are necessary, people can't, won't or don't think. When you begin the 1000 doc with You are in room 271, locate door # 271-h on the South wall and pass thru turning left and follow the yellow path chances are good you're loosing your mind, especially if you can visualize the trip between your ears. Oddly, you start to write your memories to preserve your sanity, at least I did.. I'll not opine on how well the preservation worked. I did come to envy Shelby Foote and realize I ain't in his group.

Other side of the street I have a few friends who have placed in my custody their notes and writings. People who kept journals over their life rarely fall in a group the average person would think of as writers. Right now in addition to Buzzards recollections of Civil Defense Rescue, I'm working on the notes of an Indian who was orphaned by the Korean War and his mother dying of Cancer the year after his baby sister froze to death way back on the Rez. Long story made short he grew up with his kid brother in a Nebraska "boys prison" where he found great success defeating the system until the System got him Drafted to be rid of him. One hell of a story that begins with a kid who knows maybe 10 words of English and has a born ability to cause complete chaos with just a word or 2. Been my fortune to know Phil for over 30 years most every one he's left me grinning every time he beats the system. 15 years back he bought a small town bar/hotel at auction because the lady who lived there had no other place to go. Phil and the Assessor went nose to nose and when the dust settled the hotel was a Chartered Museum paying no tax. Another example the county refused a permit for Phil's well because public water was only 6000 feet away. NO PROBLEM, County has no regulations on horizontal boring for dewatering.

Mostly I just write it down. Some I wrote for money, some I wrote for fun, most I just write cause it clears space between my ears. Take yer pick, I'll not judge.