Secretary Clinton presents Antarctic airway chart to New Zealand
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presents this Antarctic airway chart to the country of New Zealand Nov. 5, 2010 during a ceremony in Christchurch, New Zealand, highlighting the cooperation between the United States and New Zealand in carrying out scientific missions in Antarctica. The aeronautical chart is used in international flight navigation from New Zealand to Antarctica, especially for Operation Deep Freeze. (U.S. State Department Photo)
by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
11/8/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- During a ceremony Nov. 5 in Christchurch, New Zealand, at the International Antarctic Center, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton presented an Antarctic airway chart to the country.
The airway chart was created by Col. Ronald Smith, commander of Operation Deep Freeze from 2005 to 2008, and currently the Air National Guard advisor to the Air Mobility Command director of strategic plans, requirements and programs at Scott Air Force Base.
People participating in Operation Deep Freeze have coordinated 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 Roald Amundsen's sled dogs 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 Mr. 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. Captain Scott's Manchurian ponies that are named on the airway chart include Snippets, Jimmy Pigg, Bones, Jehu and Nobby.
Secretary Clinton highlighted more about what the chart means.
"As a token of friendship and to commemorate next year's 100th anniversary of the great race to reach the South Pole, I would like to present to the people of New Zealand this new aeronautical map of the route between Christchurch and McMurdo," Secretary Clinton said, according to a State Department transcript from the ceremony. "The map has many benefits but one especially unusual feature. As a reminder of the sacrifices it took to conquer the conditions on the continent, 11 of the waypoints have been named after the unsung heroes of Antarctic exploration: the dogs and ponies that made those early trips possible.
"In the story of the Antarctic," she said, "the names of the explorers are well known and famous, but now they're joined by the likes of Helge and Snippet and Bones and Nobby."
The secretary also thanked Colonel Smith.
"And I want to thank Air Force Col. Ronald J. Smith, who could not be here with us today, but it was his idea to memorialize the animals," Secretary Clinton said. "And I'd like also to acknowledge Anthony Wright, the director of the Canterbury Museum. Mr. Wright, thank you. And the museum has kindly agreed to place this map in its Antarctic exhibit, and I'm very grateful to you.
"This is an example of the kind of cooperation we want to see more of, where we work on behalf of our common challenges and find common ground," Secretary Clinton said. "The ground there is many meters thick of ice, and we know that what is happening there can have a direct impact on New Zealand, on the United States and indeed on all of the world's people."
Colonel Smith was part of a similar presentation Nov. 2 at the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in Saint Louis where an identical chart was presented. During that presentation, he summarized how the chart came into fruition.
"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 have now achieved that effort with the presentation of the chart.