ARCTIC MISSION

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ARCTIC MISSION
90 North by Airship and Submarine
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781612510101
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Era: Cold War
  • Number of Pages: 288
  • Subject: History
  • Date Available: November 2011
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William Althoff, author of Forgotten Weapon (NIP, 2009) and Arctic Mission (NIP, 2011) ~ Recipient of the Vice Adm. Edwin B. Hooper Research Grant, named in honor of a former Director of Naval History, for his great contributions to U. S. naval history, was awarded to William F. Althoff, for a history of lighter-than-air aircraft in the U.S. Navy during the early Cold War (1945-1962).  Althoff's study proposes to examine the research and development of the aircraft in the nuclear age, as well as the challenges of operation and command experienced by Navy personnel. An understanding of why the Navy abandoned this technology during the Cold War could be useful to Navy planners considering its future potential.  Althoff will be paid up to $2,500 by Naval History & Heritage Command after commencement of research. (6/18/13)

To help salve the sting of orbiting Sputniks, the United States needed a dramatic demonstration of technological prowess; early in 1958, the White House ordered a top secret under-ice transit of the Arctic Ocean—Pacific to Atlantic—via the North Pole. And that spring, the Office of Naval Research initiated a unique project: to assess whether non-rigid airships (blimps) could support field parties deployed in the Arctic. This book recounts two successful missions. In August, the nuclear submarine Nautilus (SSN 571) reached 90 North and, continuing under ice, logged the first deep-ocean transit of the basin. En route to rendezvous with an IGY drifting station on T-3, an ice island, U.S. Navy airship BUNO 126719 became the sole military airship to cross the Arctic Circle. This work is based on first-hand accounts, including journal excerpts from Dr. Waldo Lyon—a force behind U.S. under-ice submarine development.

William F. Althoff, an environmental geologist and former Ramsey Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, is the author of five books of naval history. He resides in New Jersey.

Praise for Arctic Mission

"A thorough examination of Cold War history, including the fight for Arctic sovereignty, and the stages of technical development and exploration. He provides excellent visual and documentary support for each stage of development, from ships plans and route maps, to personal photos and confidential correspondence...an intriguing picture of an unknown chapter of Cold War history."

Nautical Research Journal

“This book is well-written and at times reads like an adventure story…Also of note is the author’s ability to refer to both the absurdities and paranoia, as well as the achievements, of the Cold War era; his references to Russian research successes and achievements in the Arctic are even-handed and informative. This is a fascinating narrative, thoroughly recommended.”

Naval Books of the Year column in Warship, 2013

Arctic Mission is recommended read­ing for Arctic historians, scientists, and explorers, partic­ularly those researching what role the airship has played in the polar regions and, with ever-advancing technology, what its future capabilities and potential might be in these vast, still largely unexplored, and frequently quite hostile environments.”

Arctic Journal, June 2013

“…A pleasant read about a little-known piece of the U.S. Navy’s Arctic history.”

The Daybook

An engaging and rich narrative populated with detailed descriptions, pictures, diagrams, and graphs, the book will appeal to the technically inclined or trained specialist. The primary documents – in maps, photos, and text – will engage historians and lovers of history. And the sheer drama of man engaging, battling, and conquering the elements is lost on no one. “

International Journal of Maritime History

“Althoff is the author of several books on airships, and his descriptions of operations and the Snow Goose’s Arctic voyage are particularly vivid, again enriched by interviews with many of the participants. One of the last major missions conducted by a Navy airship, it provides a fitting coda to an often-overlooked branch of the Navy. Its story is well told in this book, enhanced by numerous photos from the mission…This story of one of the last Navy airship missions is a great read.”

Proceedings, June 2012

“This is a superb effort by an accomplished author who dug deep to generate a refreshing review of nearly forgotten events that deserve to be remembered.”

Sea Classics, July 2012

“Althoff’s fascinating account of the voyage, so detailed you’d think he’d been along for the ride…”

Air and Space Magazine, December 2011/January 2012

“A fascinating account of the U.S. Navy’s arctic work in 1958. William Althoff tells the well-known story of Nautilus 90 North with new material added. That story is interwoven with the virtually forgotten pioneering flight into the arctic at the same time. The suspense relating to operational problems, particularly for the blimp, makes excellent reading.”

—CAPT. ROBERT D. MCWETHY, USN (RET.), submariner and “Arctic Mission” advocate

“This is an eminently informative account of three major arctic engagements undertaken by the United States in 1958, the International Geophysical Year. The transit of the Arctic Ocean by the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus, the arctic flight of a U.S. Navy airship, and the research station BRAVO on Ice Island T-3 were extraordinary initiatives that contributed significantly to the understanding of the geophysics of the Arctic Ocean. This work, by veteran naval historian William Althoff, is a unique and important addition to the recent history of arctic exploration. It is a revised, updated re-release of the author's Arctic Mission first published in 2000.”

— A. E. COLLIN, oceanographer, Ice Island T-3, 1958

“Bill Althoff has put his life into arctic research and with this new volume he again demonstrates his expertise. His contribution to the chronicling of our country's airship and submarine explorations of the arctic is invaluable. This is a monumentally important historical volume.”

—MAYNARD M. MILLER, geoscientist and former director of the Glaciological and Arctic Sciences Institute for the University of Idaho
 

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