Interview of John E. Sater by Brian Shoemaker

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Title: Interview of John E. Sater by Brian Shoemaker
Creators: Sater, John E.
Contributors: Shoemaker, Brian
Subjects (LCSH): Arctic Institute of North America
Arctic regions -- Discovery and exploration -- Interviews
International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958 -- Interviews
Issue Date: 2012-01-06
Publisher: Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program
Series/Report no.: Polar Oral History Program
Abstract: Mr. Sater’s polar career began 1955 when he was in the Army as part of the First Engineering Arctic Task Force. This group studied methods of constructing snow compacted runways on the Greenland Ice Cap. Later he got a bachelors degree at Ohio State University under the tutelage of Dr Richard Goldthwaite. During the IGY he did surface motion studies on the McCall Glacier under a project funded by the Arctic Institute of North America. His career from this point on was centered about AINA and Arctic research although he had one tour in the Antarctic with the British. The interview was disjointed as he jumped around somewhat. There was some very revealing information, however. The following is pertinent: 1. While in the Army he was sent to Greenland (1955-56) as part of the First Engineer Arctic Task force that studied the construction of snow compacted runways on the central icecap. 2. Pointed out that the USAF was able to land C-124 Globemaster aircraft on the man-made runways and unload large Army tanks. Sater feels that the same type runways would be useful in Antarctica. Basically they used a heating device to melt the surface layer of snow and then sheep’s-foot construction roller to compact it. 3. During IGY he was part of the team that did motion studies on the McCall Glacier in the Romanzov Mountains, Alaska. Other team members included Dick Hubley (Station Leader), Bob Mason and Charles Keeler. Hubley committed suicide – he explains the details. 4. In 1960 Mr. Sater sailed to Antarctica on the Kista Dan as the U.S. Representative with the British Antarctic Survey. Sir Vivian Fuchs was in charge. The ship was frozen in “the ice” for a long period of time until the USS Glacier was able to free it. Scientific objectives were not met. 5. After IGY he returned to AINA where he helped to organize the Arctic Basin Symposium (1962) and to edit the Proceedings of the Arctic Basin Symposium (1963) – major work at that time. 6. Mr. Sater was the Station Leader on (Arctic Research Laboratory Ice Station II) ARLIS II from September 1962 to May 1963. Studies conducted Oceanography (?), Meteorology (Phil Church), Biology (John Moore), Acoustics (Beaumont Buck), Aurora (Vic Fisher). 7. Worked at Naval Arctic Research Laboratory as a supply coordinator from 1963 to 1964 8. Returned to AINA in 1964 and coordinated the North Water Project of Baffin Bay (polyna study). Used the Canadian Icebreaker St Laurent. Researchers included Larry Coachman, Robin Munch, Max Dunbar, Sven Orbin (McGill). 9. Discusses the aircraft crash in Arctic Ocean on the way back from ARLIS II. Plane took off with diesel fuel in the reserve tanks and when the tanks were switched the engines quit. Max Brewer, John Schindler and Zimmerman (pilot) were aboard. Aircraft put down in the dark on the ice pack. Air Force rescued them by landing on the ice. 10. Explains the Bi-national Status of AINA. There was a Canadian Directorate and U.S. Directorate. At first they were in Montreal and Baltimore respectively. It was incorporated on both sides of the border, but run by the same Board of Directors. Sater took over U.S. operation in 1970. AINA maintained itself by doing ice forecasts for the oil companies. It was closed in 1980 due to lack of money. Today the Canadian Directorate is at the University of Calgary and the U.S. Directorate is at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Chairman of the two boards are ex-officio on the other nations board.
Other Identifiers: Record Group Number: 56.108
Rights: Restrictions: This item is not restricted.
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