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Antarctic airway chart -- designed by past Operation Deep Freeze commander -- presented to Saint Louis dog museum
Col. Ronald Smith, Air National Guard advisor to the Air Mobility Command Director of Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., greets a Siberian Husky and an Alaskan Malamute after the presentation of a commemorative, centenary, first-edition Antarctic airway chart to the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in Saint Louis, Mo., on Nov. 2, 2010. The chart, created by Colonel Smith who was commander of Operation Deep Freeze from 2005 to 2008, shows “Airway 338” waypoints with each waypoint named after sled dog teams of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and the pony pack team of British explorer Capt. Robert Falcon Scott. The aeronautical chart is used in international flight navigation from New Zealand to Antarctica -- especially for Operation Deep Freeze. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol)
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Antarctic airway chart honoring animals -- designed by past Operation Deep Freeze commander -- presented to Saint Louis dog museum

Posted 11/8/2010   Updated 11/8/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs


11/8/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- In a special ceremony Nov. 2, an Air Mobility Command senior leader helped unveil a commemorative, centenary, first-edition Antarctic airway chart to the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog here.

Maj. Gen. Susan Desjardins, AMC's Director of Strategic Plans, Requirements and Programs, participated in the ceremony supporting an effort started by the Air National Guard advisor for her directorate -- Col. Ronald Smith.

The airway chart was created by Colonel Smith, commander of Operation Deep Freeze from 2005 to 2008. Operation Deep Freeze is the operation that coordinates the airlift of supplies to and within Antarctica in support of the United States Antarctic Program, every year since 1956. The chart shows "Airway 338" waypoints with each waypoint named after sled dog teams of Roald Amundsen and the pony pack team of British Capt. Robert Falcon Scott. The aeronautical chart is used in international flight navigation from New Zealand to Antarctica -- especially for Operation Deep Freeze.

History shows Amundsen was the first explorer to reach the South Pole in December 1911. The Norwegian's six sled dogs, which have their names on the airway chart, are Per, Helge, Lasse, Mylius, Frithjof and Uroa.

History also shows the many accomplishments of the British explorer Scott. Besides his efforts to reach the South Pole, Scott became "the first person to rise above the Antarctic" as he ascended 800 feet in a tethered balloon near the Ross Ice Shelf," according to the AMC History book, "Operation Deep Freeze, 50 Years of U.S. Air Force Airlift in Antarctica, 1956-2006." Captain Scott's Manchurian ponies that are named on the airway chart include Snippets, Jimmy Pigg, Bones, Jehu and Nobby.

The airway chart was printed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, whose main branch resides in Saint Louis, for the presentation on behalf of the AMC.

"This is sort of a rite of passage for this chart that took us almost two years to complete," Colonel Smith said during the event. "It's a project that was conceptualized in my dorm room at McMurdo Station...a place where I could look out at an ice shelf the size of France with a view that continued on for an eternity."

The naming of the waypoints after the dogs and ponies involved in the original discovery of the South Pole "is a way to involve them with what we're doing there today."

"This project began as a quest to bring honor, commemoration and justice to the sled dogs and ponies utilized in the 1911 and 1912 expeditions to the South Pole," Colonel Smith said. He added they've now achieved that effort with the presentation of the chart.

General Desjardins said, "The quest to get the chart completed was much like the first attempts to conquer the ice in Antarctica...a little bit frustrating, joy mixed with disappointment, but ultimately successful due to the efforts of so many who understood the significance of memorializing the unsung contributions of these service animals nearly 100 years ago."

Nearly 100 people attended the ceremony at the AKC Museum of the Dog. On hand were several dog owners and their sled dogs -- including Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and Samoyed dogs - who interacted with attendees. Also, the ceremonial area was decorated in a sled dog theme that included the presence of actual sleds.

The AKC Museum of the Dog was founded in 1982 and "boasts the country's largest collection of canine art devoted to man's best friend."



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