| The Fourth Antiaircraft (AA) Command was organized in December 1941. Its mission was to provide antiaircraft protection for the vital war industries in and around Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. In addition to its defense mission, the Fourth AA Command was charged with training units and individuals for overseas service and with furnishing AAA cadres in the activation of new units.
The photos below focus on the operations of searchlight units in the Southern California area of the command. Night after night, roving fingers of light pierced the skies above the war industries of the American west coast. Most often they followed the course of planes in practice; yet frequently they held unidentified planes as brilliant moths against black backgrounds sharp targets for AA guns if proved to be the enemy. The skill of the Fourth AA Command searchlight crews manning the lights was demonstrated in spectacular fashion at War Department bond rallies when massed lights formed precision designs against the background of the California night, as the series of photographs below attest.
A broad fan of searchlights, beginning deep in the Hollywood Bowl, ends high against a cloud ceiling. The city lights of Hollywood and Santa Monica dot the background while Lake Hollywood reflects the beams in the foreground.
Searchlights surround the Los Angeles Coliseum. Intersecting in the air above
the structure, the beams split and are reflected skyward.
Searchlights pointing straight up form a "comb of light."
A searchlight crew readies their light for a display.
A row of lights (lower left) set up at the Hollywood Bowl illuminate the famous amphitheatre.
An array of over 20 lights creates a massive starburst effect.
Searchlight beams strike the base of the cloud ceiling,
creating an effect resembling a flying disc.
A searchlight maintenance crew hard at work.
Checking the chassis prior to moving a light into position.
Lights criss-cross the sky at a War Bond Rally at Altadena, California.
The Los Angeles Coliseum is illuminated during a welcome
rally for American generals returning from the war.
Los Angeles and the distant city of Long Beach lie spread out beneath the searchlight cone
thrown from the Hollywood Bowl during a U. S. Treasury Department bond show.
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