Huskies in Greenland
Pedro in the Jungle
Rescue in Thailand
The magazine of the Air Force Museum Foundation
Winter 2022, Vol. 45 No. 1
BOARD OF TRUSTEES CHAIR
Dr. Pamela A. Drew
By the time you read this I will have retired as your Chief Executive Officer of the Air Force Museum Foundation. All is well, but it’s time; time to spend time with my wife and family, enjoying each other’s company and creating new adventures. And while I will miss coming to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force™ each day, it has never been about the place. It’s always been about the people and the impact. For the past seven plus years, I have had the honor of serving alongside an amazing group of passionate, caring, and results-oriented teammates. Whether it be the Museum team, volunteers, Foundation team, or our donors, we are all an incredible group whose commitment to achieving amazing results is unparalleled. Therefore, it is no surprise that I stand in awe of the impact we have made together. While the accomplishments are many, I found the greatest reward coming from those that will follow. Just stop by the Museum on a July day and hear the roar of the kids in the Museum; knowing that at least one of them will pursue a career in our Air Force, or aviation, or a STEM related field…because of all of us. Moreover, with Mr. Tillotson’s agenda to take our “game” to the next level by attracting 1.2 million visitors annually to our Museum, with outstanding support from our Foundation, our collective future has never looked brighter. The parting is bittersweet, but I have truly enjoyed our time together and will always cherish what you taught me. To be part of a family whose values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do results in an indelible, positive, long-lasting impression on all who visit our beloved National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. With admiration and respect,
Mike Imhoff Air Force Museum Foundation Chief Executive Officer
Lt Gen C.D. Moore II, USAF (Ret) SECRETARY
CMSAF Gerald R. Murray, USAF (Ret) TREASURER
Brig Gen Paul R. Cooper, USAF (Ret) Ms. Angela L. Billings Col James F. Blackman, USAF (Ret) Mr. John G. Brauneis Mr. Roger D. Duke Ms. Anita Emoff Col Frederick D. Gregory Sr., USAF (Ret) Mr. Benjamin T. Guthrie Mr. James L. Jennings Mr. Scott L. Jones Mr. Ki Ho Kang Dr. Thomas J. Lasley II Mr. Scott E. Lundy Gen Lester L. Lyles, USAF (Ret) Maj Gen Ted P. Maxwell, USAF (Ret) Maj Gen Brian C. Newby, USAF (Ret) Gen Gary L. North, USAF (Ret) Mr. Edgar M. Purvis Jr. Maj Gen Frederick F. Roggero, USAF (Ret) CMSgt Darla J. Torres, USAF (Ret) Mr. Randy Tymoﬁchuk
EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS
Col Mark N. Brown, USAF (Ret) Mr. James F. Dicke II Ms. Frances A. Duntz Mr. Charles J. Faruki Maj Gen E. Ann Harrell, USAF (Ret) Col William S. Harrell, USAF (Ret) Mr. Jon G. Hazelton Mr. Charles F. Kettering III Mr. Patrick L. McGohan Lt Gen Richard V. Reynolds, USAF (Ret) Col Susan E. Richardson, USAF (Ret) Gen Charles T. (Tony) Robertson, USAF (Ret) Mr. R. Daniel Sadlier Col James B. Schepley, USAF (Ret) Mr. Scott J. Seymour Mr. Philip L. Soucy Mr. Harry W. (Wes) Stowers Jr. Mr. Robert J. Suttman II, CFA
what’s inside 48 IN EVERY ISSUE
Pedro the Huskie, and More
95th Bomb Group
ABOVE & BEYOND
Medal of Honor recipient: A1C William H. Pitsenbarger
6 | HUSKIES IN GREENLAND
42 | PEDRO IN THE JUNGLE
Kaman HH-43B Huskie
“The storm had winds of more than 125 mph and the gusts were even stronger… It blew up to drifts of approximately 15 feet high.”
14 | OVER THE HUMP
“We exceeded the allowable max gross weight by several hundred pounds, but Pedro never complained, and we got them all back safely.”
CLASSIC AIRCRAFT AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE USAF™
UPCOMING EVENTS AND EXHIBITS AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE USAF New Exhibit Coming Soon — From Yesterday to Tomorrow: Celebrating 75 Years of the Department of the Air Force, open aircraft days, and more
“Many times I would have both feet up on the instrument panel to provide extra leverage for the pull necessary to just control the nose.”
25 | FOUR AIRCRAFT AND FOUR GOOD FRIENDS IN FOUR MINUTES “TAC wanted to show our ability to fly a squadron of nuclear capable F-84Fs anywhere in the world on 24-hours notice.”
28 | PREPARING FOR KOREA “Slowly the rear window was lowered and an ID card was thrust at me. I almost lost it when I read the card; Curtis LeMay, General, USAF.”
On the Cover: Huskies in Greenland author Col Ryland Dreibelbis, USAF (Ret) with a Husky during his tour in Greenland. See story on page 6.
FRIENDS JOURNAL ❙
48 | FLYING THE CADET NURSE “Shrapnel from many anti-aircraft explosions cracked through the plane and one propeller was feathered because an engine was damaged.”
51 | RESCUE IN THAILAND “Although I hated to do it because it would provide any enemy who might be in the area a good target, I turned on my flood lights.”
55 | TRAINING FOR WAR “The B-26 was a heavy plane for its size and had somewhat of a bad record with many crashes and loss of life.”
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the Friends Journal articles and Feedback letters are solely those of the authors in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., the United States Air Force or any other entity or agency of the U.S. Government. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
AIR FORCE MUSEUM FOUNDATION LEADERSHIP TEAM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
PEDRO THE HUSKIE, AND MORE
DIRECTOR, FOOD SERVICE AND FACILITIES
While we have published issues that focused on a specific theme in the past, we don’t often focus on a specific aerospace vehicle. However, over the past two years I have received submissions from several readers about a lesser known yet important aircraft first introduced in the late 1950s, and decided to use those stories together in this issue. The Kaman HH-43 Huskie was an interesting helicopter in that it had two intermeshing rotors turning in opposite directions, eliminating the need for a tail rotor. It was originally acquired by the Air Force for local base rescue and fighting aircraft fires but filled other roles, most notably as a search and rescue helicopter. In this role they were unofficially known as “Pedros,” and were responsible for saving more lives in combat than any other USAF helicopter during the war in Southeast Asia. Most notably, it was an HH-43 that carried A1C William H. Pitsenbarger on his Medal of Honor mission in 1966 (see Above and Beyond for the citation). Among the other stories you will find in this issue, Kreiger Henderson’s story about flying from India to China over the Himalayas during World War II also describes lesser-known aircraft... well, lesser-known variations of a well-known aircraft. C-87s were factory-built cargo and passenger transport versions of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber. C-109s were B-24s converted to haul fuel, primarily aviation gasoline for Boeing B-29 Superfortresses operating out of China against the Japanese before B-29 operations were moved to the Mariana Islands. And we are still looking for stories related to upcoming exhibits at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force™. Stories about humanitarian missions as well as stories related to Air Defense Command, and strategic reconnaissance, are all on my wish list. However, as always, any story about service in the U.S. Air Force is always welcome.
DIRECTOR, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION
DIRECTOR, HR AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
Crystal Van Hoose
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE™ DIRECTOR
David Tillotson III
FRIENDS JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS EDITOR
John King, Art Powell, Robert Pinizzotto
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P.S. As a reminder, my new telephone number is 937.751.1549. Please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as I am able. However, since I am working almost exclusively from home, the quickest and easiest way to reach me and receive a reply continues to be to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Friends Journal is published quarterly by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., a Section 501(c)(3) private, non-proﬁt organization dedicated to the expansion and improvement of the National Museum of the U.S. Air ForceTM and to the preservation of the history of the United States Air Force. The Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. is not part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no government status. Printed in the USA. USPS Standard A rate postage paid at Dayton, OH. The Friends Journal is mailed on a quarterly basis to donors to the Air Force Museum Foundation.
O YT N A 0 12:0 PM
PATCHES RETIRED MAJ DEWEY BARICH OF DOVER, DELAWARE, WROTE: I enjoy all the stories that appear in Friends Journal. I was particularly interested in the story by Ronald K. Valenti “Bladder Birds” that appeared in the Fall 2021 issue. I was a pilot in the 12th ACS (Ranch Hand) flying the UC-123 in Vietnam from January 1967 to January 1968 and would like to offer some additional perspective and reassurance. In his article Ron made reference to refueling Patches and concern for the operator (actually the flight engineer) who released the chemic al during spr ay operations. At the time Ron was in Vietnam, Patches e th h was used for mosquito it Valenti w t a Ronald K. 0 3 -1 control and did not fly any of a C the back in s . p 9 m 6 u defoliation missions. The p ril 19 hout in Ap Ban Me T odor he detected was most likely malathion. I believe she was maintained in plain aluminum and not camouflaged to distinguish her from the other UC-123s that did spray herbicides. The hope was she wouldn’t draw ground fire. Valenti
Also, with regard to who controlled the spray, it was the pilot with a switch on the yoke. The flight engineer’s job was to start the spray pump and while on target, keep the pump running to provide constant pressure. In addition, he had a supply of smoke grenades with him in his armored enclosure. When ground fire was encountered and at the direction of the pilot he would activate and throw one out an open troop door. This was done to mark a target for our fighter support. Further, the flight engineer’s greatest threat was from ground fire not herbicide. It was generally assumed that those who were shooting at us never fully comprehended the concept of leading a moving target. By far, the greatest number of hits were in the cargo compartment where the flight engineer was positioned. On my first flight on a “hot” target, our engineer was wounded by a 12.7 mm round that pierced his armor plated enclosure before striking him.
FRIENDS JOURNAL ❙
THIS ISSUE’S STAMP The stamp in this issue is a 1988 36-cent U.S. Airmail stamp featuring aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky. The aircraft shown is the first practical American single-rotor helicopter. Sikorsky developed the rotor confi guration used in most helicopters today. His R-4, one of which is on display in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, was the fi rst mass produced helicopter in the world and the first helicopter used by the U.S. Army Air Forces. On April 25, 1944, a Sikorsky YR-4 piloted by Lt Carter Harman of the 1st Air Commando Group, rescued four men from the jungle of Burma, the first combat rescue by helicopter in the USAAF.
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H-43 at the Admiral Peary Monument at Cape York, Greenland.
BY COL RYLAND DREIBELBIS, USAF (RET)
Huskies in Greenland 6
As with other locations, the H-43s stationed at Thule Air Base (AB), Greenland, flew a variety of missions that fixed wing aircraft cannot perform. There were no runways at remotely located Greenland Inuit villages, no roads, no rail service, water access only in the summer when the sea ice melted, and nearly daylong total darkness in the winter and nearly daylong sunshine in summer. The Inuits traveled by dog team when the
The author with an H-43, and an H-43 supporting a fire fighting team with a fire suppression kit. Dreibelbis
sea was frozen over. They hunted for seal and whales and seldom came to the base. The H- 43 helicopters could perform a variety of missions filling the gap that other means of transportation couldn’t perform. The importance of having helicopters in remote areas such as northern Greenland cannot be over emphasized. Thank you, Mr. Sikorsky. I was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base (AFB), Maryland, in 1966, flying Kaman H-43 Huskies (a helicopter with intermeshing rotors) when I was told that my next assignment was Commander, Helicopter Detachment 18, Eastern Air Rescue Center, Thule Air Base, Greenland. I was totally surprised to get the Thule assignment. In fact, I was somewhat disappointed. Thule AB, Greenland? W hat had I done wrong? I thought my next assignment would likely be Vietnam. Instead, I would be off to the Arctic again, having returned from Alaska in 1964. As it turned out, the Thule assignment was one of my best. I got to work with and for the Danish government representatives, the USAF base commander, to command a rescue helicopter detachment, and to continue flying the H-43. I had previously flown the H-43 at Luke AFB, Arizona, and Andrews. I FRIENDS JOURNAL ❙
had accumulated approximately 900 hours, and would add more hours at George AFB, California, after Thule. The H-43 is the ugliest helicopter that I have ever flown, but it was one of the best performers, especially at high altitude. I once rescued three men by hoist at 12,500 ft. in the California mountains near Mt. Whitney. It was slow but reliable, so it was a real rescue bird. Now it had to prove itself to me in the Arctic. If you don’t know about Greenland, it is an autonomous territory of Denmark and the Inuit people of Greenland are citizens of Denmark. It is three times the size of the state of Texas, it is the largest island on earth, and about 75% of Greenland is covered with an ice sheet. I departed Andrews AFB for Thule AB in the summer of 1966. I moved my family to Tallahassee, Florida, where they would live close to my wife’s family in Georgia. Also, my wife had attended classes at Florida State, therefore she was familiar with the area. She also knew that our two grade-school age daughters would be in a good school environment. It would only be for a year. I arrived at Thule in mid-summer and the sun was up 24-hours-aday. What a surprise. Members of the detachment welcomed me and took me to the building where I
would be living for a year. It was a one floor barrack type building. There was a room for each occupant and each room had a window. No private bath… oh, and no TV. The building was elevated 5 to 6 feet above the ground and set on posts so that the heated building would not melt the permafrost under it (which, over time, would cause the building to sink resulting in potential structural damage, etc.) Most of the buildings on base were elevated to prevent them from sinking into the permafrost. The hangars had large air chambers under the hangar floors so that the heat inside the hangars would not melt the permafrost under the floor. I switched on my room light when I entered it for the first time. The light came on and I didn’t even think about electric power for the base. But on one of my first H-43 flights my fellow pilot pointed out a large ship docked at the base pier. It looked like it had been docked there for a long time. Yes, that was the base power plant. It contained generators that produced electrical power for the entire base. Our hangar offices were heated and the hangar area where our helicopters were was also heated to a lesser degree. There were large conduits running throughout the base that delivered electricity to the buildings and other utilities such as water. ☛ 7
The hangars (left) and barracks (below) elevated so the heat wouldn’t melt the permafrost. Bottom left, the base power plant was contained in a ship anchored nearby.
villages and provided medical airlift suppor t as needed. This included transportation of doctors to the villages and on occasion transporting the Inuit to Thule for hospital care.
There were also above ground power lines. Our H-43 helicopters were the only aircraft stationed at Thule AB in 1966. Our mission included: Search and Rescue as required, supporting an isolated US Coast Guard Communications Station located 30 miles south of Thule (that had no road access), supporting a USAF Ballistic Missile Early Warning System site located on the edge of the ice cap, and last, and perhaps most important, we were to provide support to the two remote Inuit villages located in the area in accordance with a United States-Denmark agreement. The agreement allowed the United States to maintain a military base in Greenland. 8
I was taken to our hangar where our H-43s were hangared and maintained the day after arrival and I was shown my office and our briefing room. I was also taken to the maintenance section where I met the Airmen who maintained our helicopters and I was taken to the Thule Air Base commander’s office where I met him and his staff. I was introduced to the Danish liaison officer who would be the key coordinator of our Inuit village suppor t. Our mission included transportation of Danish officials on an “as required basis” to and from the villages, and transportation of supplies, including food furnished by the Danish government. We also carried mail to and from Danish representatives at the two Inuit
I was informed that most of our flights would be flown in pairs of two H-43s together. This was necessar y due to the frequent inclement weather, open water with floating icebergs in the summer, the long periods without sunlight in the winter, and the extreme cold. If one of the H-43s developed an inflight problem, such as an engine failure, that required an immediate landing or an autorotation, then the other helicopter and crew were there to assist and, if necessary, would be able to save the lives of the crew. This would be essential if a landing in the frigid water became necessary. We always wore Arctic survival flight suits on our overwater flights. ARCTIC SURVIVAL SCHOOL Arctic survival school training was required for all aircrew personnel flying out of Thule AB. We were required to go out on the ice cap east of the base to experience survival
Capt Glen Passey demonstrates building an igloo, a skill he learned in Alaska. This was much more elaborate than the survival shelter they would have built in an emergency. Dreibelbis
on ice, with cold temperatures and limited daylight. I had been through survival school in Alaska, so I knew, in part, what to expect, but I soon learned that it was different here. First, if we didn’t take it with us, it would not be available on the ice cap. Second, we had to have some type of shelter. What was available? There were no trees or brush. The only option was to use frozen blocks of snow and ice to build a shelter in what was called a fighter trench. We had to cut out rectangular blocks approximately 6 inches thick, 12 inches wide and 30 inches long (as best we could) and then lift them out leaving a hole in the snow/ice. We were provided survival type hand saws for cutting out the blocks. This had to be repeated several times in a line with blocks leaning against each other at the top and the other ends placed on each side of the resulting trench — forming a triangle. When completed, we had a narrow 7-footlong pointed tent over the resulting trench. One end was partially open so we could crawl into our ice box. This is where we slept (in a sleeping bag) to survive. Later and as the unit commander, I arranged a test of our survival flight suits. I had all the flight personnel enter the water, including myself, with icebergs floating nearby. We all learned why it was essential that we wear our survival suits on all flights over water. The only exception was local flights over the land and near the base. We also learned why we FRIENDS JOURNAL ❙
flew in pairs — immediate rescue was essential. Survival without the suits would only be minutes. INUIT VILLAGES One of my first flights was to the Inuit village of Qaanaaq approximately 75 miles north of the base. Its population today is about 650 people. There were many fewer in 1966. I saw that it was necessary to fly over a mountain ridge and then over Murchison Sound to reach the village. The sound is frozen over in the winter and open water with floating icebergs in the summer. Some of them were of tremendous size and flat on top because they were broken up sea ice. I later took a photo of our accompanying H-43 flying at low altitude across the top of one. It looked like a small bug compared to the iceberg. Other icebergs had rough jagged tops and sides. It was obvious that they had broken off the edge of glaciers and then floated away in the open water. On occasion, at night and while outside our living quarters, we could hear icebergs breaking
away from the glaciers, making a low rumbling sound. The first look at Qaanaaq from the H-43 was more than interesting. It was a very small village which was totally isolated. I made the trip to Qaanaaq many times during my one-year assignment. As I recall, it had several small huts, maybe 10 or 15, where the Inuit lived. There were 2 or 3 larger buildings that were used for Danish housing, an office, a small school, a chapel, and a storage area. One of the buildings contained a small store where the Inuit could buy items that were brought in from Denmark. How did they pay? They brought in seal skins, walrus tusks and tusks that protrude from the nose of the narwhal. Some were 5 to 6 feet long. They gave me one that was four feet long. Orla Sandborg, the Danish manager of the village, greeted me on my first arrival. He took me to his office and introduced me to the other Danish representatives. He explained their responsibilities. It was easy to see that they, including the Inuit,
lived a different lifestyle than we were accustomed to even at the base. They did not have the luxury of things that we take for granted, for example, the ability to run to the grocery store, watch TV, or use a thermostat to turn up the heat when the house got a bit uncomfortable. Nevertheless, the Danes and the Inuit were a happy group. They worked together and the Inuit didn’t miss what they had never had. On occasion, a Danish aircraft would arrive at Thule and depart, usually on the same day. They brought in replacement workers and took home those that had finished their contract work. The aircraft also brought in mail and supplies that would be used at the base and the Inuit villages. Medical needs were included. The second Inuit village that we often flew to was Savigsivik. It is located 65 miles southeast of Thule. It is a small village, even smaller than Qaanaaq and seemed more remote. As I recall, there were no Danes living at the village. The Inuit lived a more primitive life there than at Qaanaaq, but also appeared to be a happy group. Of course, they had dogs to pull sleds when the sea was frozen over, and small boats for fishing and seal hunting in the summer. Although I did not witness them doing this, I understood that they got some of their fresh water by breaking off chunks of icebergs floating near the village. Par t of the mission at Thule included the transpor t of base medical personnel to Qaanaaq and Savigsivik to treat ill Inuit and Danes. If an illness or injury happened that could not be treated at the village, we would fly them to the base hospital. This was not a frequent occurrence, but it was another job for the H-43. On one occasion we were asked to fly a medical representative from the base hospital to a remote shack near Qaanaaq. I flew the H-43 ☛ 10
The author took many pictures during his visits to the Inuit villages of Qaanaaq and Savigsivik, documenting the Inuit housing, clothing, and means of transportation. Note the seal on the sled in the photo below. Dreibelbis photos
Orla Sandborg, Danish manager of the village of Qaanaaq. FRIENDS JOURNAL ❙
The results of the phase storm with 125 mph winds that kept them in their quarters for two days — 15-foot high snow drifts.
mission that night. While I don’t recall the medical reason for going, the visit was one that I will never forget. We shut down the H-43 and entered the Inuit hut. The room was very small with an oil-burning lamp. There was something on the floor that I had to step around; it was a large dead seal. The Inuit host offered me a cup of coffee. It was black — very black. I am not a coffee drinker, but I took a sip or two. It was so strong that I was wondering if I could fly the H-43 back to the base. I will never forget the seal in the middle of the floor and the coffee. Approximately 85 miles south of Thule AB is a monument dedicated to Admiral Robert Peary. [Editor’s Note: Peary, a U.S. naval officer, 12
made several expeditions to the Arctic, and claimed to have reached the geographic north pole in 1909.] I flew to the monument in the H-43. I didn’t know that it existed. I wonder how many people in the U.S., and perhaps even Denmark, know that it is there. It is a stark monument standing alone on the empt y Greenland landscape. I looked at it and thought it must be more than 100 feet tall. There is a large “P” high on the side of the monument and a plaque at the bottom. NATURE One of the most significant things that I remember about my Thule assignment was experiencing the change from bright sunshine 24 -hours-a-day to 24 -hours-aday of darkness. The change from
one to the other is gradual and the result of the earth’s rotational tilt. In general, the change from 24 hours of daylight at Thule becomes noticeable around the 1st of September. The earth tilts so that the northern hemisphere gradually gets less sunlight each day until there is no sunlight. When the sun began shining around the clock it became difficult to know when it was time to go to bed. If you were out at midnight, when it was supposed to be dark, the sun is in the north sky. When you went to your room to go to bed, sunlight was coming through the window, and you didn’t need to turn on the lights. Was it really time to go to bed? We overcame this problem by putting sheets of aluminum foil in our room windows that shut out the sun light, thus creating a nighttime ambiance. You had to turn on the lights when you entered your room, so then it felt like it was time to go to bed. The opposite occurred in the winter months. You had to turn on the lights everywhere you went. We had to keep the lights on in the hangar around the clock so maintenance could be performed on the H-43s and so we could work in our offices. I don’t remember the exact date, but we experienced a phase storm in which multiple low pressure systems merged to create a storm, and it is something I won’t forget. The storm had winds of more than 125 mph and the gusts were even stronger. We had to stay in our quarters for more than 2 days. When we looked out from our small double-pane windows we saw nothing but solid grey — it was snow blowing off the ice cap. I was glad that our quarters were built for such an event. Our H-43s were protected in the hangar which was also built to withstand winds of that velocity. The only problem at the hangar was the snow that piled up in front of the hangar doors. It blew up to drifts of approximately 15 feet high. We could not get the H-43s out until the snow was removed by heav y dut y snow
A parting gift. The author standing next to a 20-ton meteorite that landed near Savigsivik.
removal equipment. We could not fly for at least three days. Another thing occurred during the storm that had a negative impact on our morale. At some point we noticed that the white color of the snow blowing by the windows had become a rosy red on gray. We didn’t know what was causing the color change until the storm ended. Sadly, we learned that our small gym had burned down during the storm. The base fire department could not respond because of the high winds. The gym had one hand ball court, an area to lift weights, a one lane bowling alley, and a halfcourt basketball floor. Parts of the gym were scattered about the base by the wind. Some buildings were hit by flying debris from the structure, but not badly damaged. Fortunately, our hangar was not damaged because the wind was blowing away from the flight line. We later learned that we had a problem closer to home. The small attic in our barrack had become filled with snow. How did we find out? Water started to drip from the ceiling in some of the rooms. The combination of warm rooms and warming outside caused the snow up there to begin to melt. We had to go up and remove the snow from the attic, shovel by shovel. It was packed full and a big job. We could not stand up, and had to crawl. No, the base snow removal team did not offer to remove the snow for us. While at Thule I had the opportunity to board a Coast Guard icebreaker that arrived during the summer. The captain invited me and other members of my detachment to visit the ship and have dinner with him onboard. The visit included a tour FRIENDS JOURNAL ❙
of the ship and an explanation of how the icebreaker does its job — breaking sea ice so cargo ships can reach their northern destinations during the summer months. A helicopter would fly from a landing pad on the stern of the ship. The helicopter crew scouted ahead of the ship and selected the best direction for the ship to proceed based on sea ice conditions. In short, the ship had two large water tanks, one in the bow and one in the stern. A large pipe connected the two so that water could be pumped between them. When the ice in front of the ship needed to be broken the water was pumped from the bow tank to the stern tank raising the bow of the ship. The ship moved ahead while the bow was raised slightly above the ice. Then the water in the rear tank was pumped to the front tank which increased the weight of the bow which crushed the ice under the bow. The procedure was repeated as the ship moved forward.
Natural Histor y in Washington, D.C. I was told that the meteorite that I saw was being prepared for shipment to Copenhagen via a Danish ship. It was estimated that it weighed 20 tons and consisted mostly of iron.
I also had an opportunity to see a meteorite that landed in Greenland near the village of Savigsivik on what we called Meteorite Island. The one that I saw was probably one of eight fragments of an asteroid which landed in the area of Cape York. Pieces of the meteorite are now located in the University of Copenhagen Geological Museum and the American Museum of
Colonel Dreibelbis joined the USAF in 1954 and graduated from pilot training in 1955. He completed a helicopter pilot training in 1955 which led to helicopter rescue pilot duties in several U.S. states and overseas, including Vietnam. He retired in 1981 following duty as Deputy Commander for Operations, Rescue Command Headquarters, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
On my last visit at Qaanaaq I was about to board the H-43 when a very young Inuit boy ran up to me, grabbed my left hand and put something in it. He then closed my hand and ran off. I didn’t have a chance to look closely or thank him. He had given me a small ivory token, a beautifully carved head of a polar bear. I still have it of course. It and my memories of Greenland are precious to me. I will never forget my Thule assignment. It was a privilege to have served there. Yes, it was cold. But the Inuit and the Danish government officials warmly welcomed me and made me feel at home.