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History

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana (1863-1952)

History to me is like a very attractive mistress. She compromises my concentration, affects my decisions, gives me fantasies, dreams, and sometimes nightmares. Sometimes I wonder if I chose my profession incorrectly as I've often said, "If it wouldn't have been for computers, I'd have been a History Teacher." I have enjoyed History, even participating in the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg as a "soldier" with the 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. If I had to choose a historical unit to fight with, that would be it. They were the First 3 year regiment to reach Washington DC after Lincoln called for volunteers. They proceeded to be involved in the heaviest fighting, at almost every major engagement the Army of the Potomac until they assumed Provost Guard duties after Gettysburg bearing nearly 80% casualties of the original enlistees.

Another period of time I've been interested was the Cold War, Having been alive to watch the "End" of it. (My opinion it was the end of the Soviet Union but I digress.) During the 1950's there were a great deal of military programs that were interesting. However one has a more personal connection. My Grandfather was a member of the men participating in Operation: Southwind. I've attached here the only information publicly available.

From Volume 8 Issue 54 of The Polar Record by Cambridge University Press

U.S. OPERATION "SOUTHWIND', 1955

[Summarized from a report by the U.S. Office of Information Services, Thule Air Base, Greenland.]
This operation was carried out by the Arctic Group of the Transportation Corps,
U.S. Army, from the base at Thule, North-west Greenland. The object was to deliver
cargo by means of mechanized vehicles to a remote destination on the ice-sheet
during winter darkness. The party was commanded by Colonel Page H. Slaughter
and consisted of thirty-one men; four officers and non-commissioned officers, one
medical officer, two radio operators, two cooks, two mechanics, three navigators and
and seventeen drivers. The equipment comprised five tracked heavy tractors, four
fuel transporters (tanks mounted on sledges), three personnel and one supply
wanigans (heated shelters mounted on sledges), eleven cargo and one service sledge,
and three weasels. Supplies of food and fuel for 60 days were carried.
The operation began on 18 October when the train left "Tuto", a semi-permanent
camp established in 1955 on the edge of the ice sheet, about 14 miles from Thule. The
route was towards the east for about 200 miles to an air weather station called "Site
Two", and then it headed south. On 7 November the destination was reached,
660 miles from "Tuto", and the stores delivered. On the return journey the party
was stormbound for 5 days and had to abandon some equipment owing to shortage
of fuel. Before reaching "Tuto" news was received that another party was storm-
bound about 140 miles east of the camp, and so a deviation was made to locate and
help it. "Tuto" was finally reached on 29 December.
During this operation in darkness three airdrops were carried out by SA-16 aircraft
of the 55th Air Rescue Squadron at 330, 500 and 270 miles from Thule.

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