Interview of Jehu L. Blades by Brian Shoemaker

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Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program

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Cdr. Blades describes the events that led to the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. After returning from a Pacific carrier group, he flew a prototype of the AWACS aircraft. While stationed near San Diego, he trained as a helicopter pilot. During the Korean War he was based on a submarine to assist in the operation of a small HTL H47 helicopter on floats used by the Marines in reconnaissance missions. In 1952 he was a member of Polar Operations and was the Officer in Charge of two helicopters on the icebreaker USS Burton. The purpose of these helicopters was ice reconnaissance. The ship was to return to the lower states via the Northwest Passage. After becoming free of ice, the crew returned to the West Coast. Upon returning to San Diego, Cdr. Blades was involved in rescue and survival training. A change in duty sent him to the Naval Air Test Center for instruction at the Test Pilot School. Upon completion, he was assigned to the Military Assistance and Advisory Group in Paris. After returning to the United States, Cdr. Blades was accepted as a cargo helicopter pilot for Operation Deepfreeze I. He describes the trip to Antarctica as skipper of a small tanker. The helicopters carried the supplies from the ships to the base being built by the Seabees. On the return trip the ship traveled around the Antarctic continent. In 1964-65 Cdr. Blades was the Commanding Officer of the group wintering over for Operation Deepfreeze III (?). He lists some of the problems living in Antarctica during the winter. The HAM radio was used to keep in contact with family. Major Themes Opportunities in the life of Cdr. Blades for flight in the Arctic and Antarctic regions The shipment of helicopters to the Polar Regions in 1952 Development of techniques for helicopter rescue, including the Chicago clamp Operation Deepfreeze I Course and recollections of travel from Norfolk, VA to McMurdo Station, Antarctica Operation Deepfreeze III (?), 1964-65 Construction of the Palmer Station Relations between international Antarctic scientists and military personnel


Igor Sikorsky, pp.3 Jimmy Beaner, pp. 3 Cdr. Eugene Maher, pp. 7-9, 19-21, 23, 52 Doug Billet, pp. 10 Admiral George Dufek, pp. 15, 27 Mel Fisher, pp. 16, 22 Admiral Wombe, pp. 20 Raymond Spears, pp. 25 Admiral Richard Byrd, pp. 27 _______ Green, pp. 36 Father Dan Linehan, pp. 36 Lt. Cdr. Glen Lathrop, pp. 38 Lt. Cdr. Dave Canham, pp. 39 Captain ______Elliott, pp. 43 Art DeVries, pp. 43 Adrian Hayter, pp. 43-44 Ivan McDonald, pp. 44 Admiral Jim Ready, pp. 45 Igor Zotikov, pp. 49 Bert Crary, pp. 52 Sir Ernest Shackleton, pp. 57
The media can be accessed at the links below.
Audio Part 1:
Audio Part 2: