On the chilly roof of the glamorous Edgewater Beach Hotel, Johnnie McGrath spends his nights watching the sky. He remains part of a special group of Americans—teenagers, housewives, retirees— who watch the skies for enemy aircraft. The Ground Observer Corps began during World War II as this country’s air warning system. At one time some 800,000 volunteers at more than 16,000 rooftops and search towers looked through binoculars for hostile airplanes…and Johnnie McGrath’s sky watching days may be numbered…there’s talk in Washington of a new technology by next year. “What in heaven’s sake is going on?” he said.
— Shaping the Story, chapter 8