Quest for a Northern Air Route

Quest for a Northern Air Route

Quest for a Northern Air Route

Quest for a Northern Air Route

Excerpt

Far to the north of our country lies an archipelago of gigantic islands comprising an area nearly half as large as the United States, separated from continental America by wide bays and narrow straits, bounded on the east by Baffin Bay and the adjacent shores of Greenland and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. A century ago the famous Franklin expedition was lost in the heart of that vast archipelago, and in subsequent decades many explorers went in search of survivors or vestiges that would tell the story of their fate. Consequently the archipelago is remarkably well mapped for so large and inaccessible a region, but still its intricate coastlines are so extensive and so remote that their geography is but crudely delineated, while the interior is largely unknown. This great land of islands might have been of vital importance in World War II; it may yet be a key to the prevention of World War III.

Whether as a locus of defensive outposts or as a meeting ground for friendly coöperation in polar research with our European neighbors, the lands that bound the North Polar Sea are of major concern to coming generations.

Many persons engaged in the war effort visited this northern area between 1940 and 1945 on missions pertaining to air transport and weather forecasting. My part in these missions, though small, was unique in the successive contacts with various phases of the problem, and the experiences I enjoyed seemed to me worth recording.

Grateful acknowledgments are due to John T. Rowland, Samuel E. Morison, Bliss Perry, William S. Carlson, and E. C. Sweeny, all of whom read the manuscript and offered construc-

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