The IV Interceptor Command was constituted on May 26 1941. Activated on July 8, 1941. Assigned to Fourth AF. Redesignated IV Fighter Command in May 1942. Provided air defense for the west coast; trained fighter organizations and personnel. Disbanded on March 31, 1944.
- WINGS: Los Angeles Fighter: 1942-1944. Seattle Fighter: 1942-1944. San Diego Fighter: 1942-1944. San Francisco Fighter: 1942-1944.
- STATIONS: March Field, Calif, July 8, 1941; Riverside, Calif, c. July 1941; Oakland, Calif, June 1942-March 31 1944.
- COMMANDERS: Maj Gen Millard F Harmon, Jul 1941; Brig Gen William O Ryan, c. August 3, 1941; Brig Gen William E Kepner, c. February 23, 1942; Brig Gen Edward M Morris, March 18, 1943; Brig Gen Russell E Randall, December 4, 1943-March 31, 1944.
- CAMPAIGNS: American Theater.
- DECORATIONS: None.
- INSIGNIA: Gold disk bordered in white depicting a blue falcon with white talons, wings spread and holding in its beak two red lightning-bolt like flashes. (Approved 28 Nov 1942.)
On December 31, 1941, barely five months after full activation and only 24 days after Pearl Harbor was bombed and the U.S. declared of war on the Axis powers, the IV Interceptor Command reported that several enemy planes were believed to have landed and been hidden near the inland desert communities of Indio and Brawley in the Imperial Valley of California. They also reported that five messages in Japanese code were being sent daily between Brawley and Mexico City via short wave radio. At 12:32 PM in the afternoon of December 31, 1941, the Federal Bureau of Investigation relayed the following message:
"There is a plan for air and sea attack against San Diego, San Pedro and San Francisco, to take place about dawn either New Year’s Day or the following Sunday. It is possible the attack will be made against San Diego and San Pedro first. Expecting cooperation from aliens ashore. The air attack will be by German airmen from across the border where planes are now under cover, taking off before dawn and coming over flying high. If air forces are alert, this can be broken up before they reach their objectives. Am sending you this information for want of better channels to advise. Remember Pearl Harbor."(see)
The IV Interceptor Command, after receiving heat for releasing the above report on an event that didn't transpire, and regarded by many as 'war hysteria,' was later absolved. The planned aerial attack by German pilots from across the border was not implemented at the scheduled time having been stopped in its tracks and completely thwarted because of the espionage work of the American movie actress Rochelle Hudson --- and the reason why she is famous in the espionage world as a success. Hudson, along with her Naval officer husband, who were traveling incognito as a vacationing couple for the Naval Intelligence Service, uncovered a supply of high octane aviation fuel stashed by German agents in Baja California. After the discovery the stash was dealt with appropriately and without the necessary fuel to implement the planned attack, it was scrapped.
The above wasn't the only time the Fourth Interceptor Command came under the gun so to speak and received a lot of heat for seeming inaction. A few short months after the above incident the Los Angeles area was involved in what was thought by many to be a huge nighttime enemy attack, which has since been given the name UFO Over L.A. or The Battle of Los Angeles. As late as a full 45 years after the event and continuing to this day, people are still questioning why no U.S. planes were ordered into the skies to apprehend the object on it's approach. In a article titled World War II UFO Scare by Paul T. Collins in FATE Magazine, Volume 40, Number 7, Issue 448, and published in July, 1987, the following by Collins if found:
"Planes of the Fourth Interceptor Command were, in fact, warming up on the runways waiting for orders to go up and interview the unknown intruders. Why, everybody was asking, were they not ordered to go into action during the 51-minute period between the first air-raid alert at 2:25 AM and the first artillery firing at 3:16?"
SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND AND THE 1942 UFO
BATTLE OF L. A.: THE RADAR DILEMMA
NAZI PLOT TO BLOW UP HOOVER DAM
I-19 ATTACK ON THE SS ABSAROKA
THE JAPANESE SECRET WAR
P-40 GOOSE SHOOT
PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR
EYES ALOFT: IV INTERCEPTOR COMMAND
FOURTH ANTI-AIRCRAFT (AA) COMMAND
THE SO-CALLED BATTLE OF L.A.--800 FOOT ZEPPELIN-SIZE UFO
CAUGHT IN SEARCHLIGHT BEAMS OVER LOS ANGELES IN 1942
THE P-40s OF THE IV INTERCEPTOR COMMAND STAYED DOWN.
(please click image)
SOURCE: Air Force Combat Units Of World War II, Maurer, Maurer (1983). Office of Air Force History.