Blinded by the Light – WWII’s Secret Project

Updated: Apr 11, 2018

Charles Odell Sears had a secret. One he carried with him for 41 years. Odell, from Brownfield, Texas, entered the U.S. Army in February 1944. He and 27 other men from Brownfield all passed their physicals in Lubbock that month. They were soon headed for Ft. Sill, Oklahoma and their “introduction” to the Army. Next stop for Odell was in Ft. Lewis, WA. for three months training where he was told he was now a member of the 739th Tank Battalion. Then it was on to Ft. Knox, KY for tank field training. Here is what happened next in Odell’s own words:


“We were converted to a top-secret outfit but it was still the 739th. We were all investigated by the F.B.I. and sworn to secrecy. We were not allowed to speak or get in direct contact with anyone outside our outfit. The British had invented a secret tank gadget (CDL or Coastal Defense Light) that they thought would revolutionize the use of tanks in combat. It was a carbon arc lamp that was placed in a tank’s turret and its light was projected through a slot in the front of the turret. An operator would