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JosephThomas's avatar

Thule Rescue

I was a still photographer at Thule Air Force Base in Thule, Greenland when a B-52 crashed near the base.

I was called to go out -- I grabbed a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera -- with a rescue team to search for survivors.

We found and rescued the tail gunner, and I got off one shot. The photo was released to the media worldwide and today I find that this image is still floating around over the Internet.
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© 2020 - 2021 JosephThomas
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Bodypartselfies's avatar

wow...that’s an emotional picture and story....but sad for the rest of the crew .

i had no idea Americans were in Greenland ..Iceland yes.❤️

JosephThomas's avatar

Only one crew member perished, five of six survived.

If you check this Wiki article, you'll get the details and you will see this image plus a photo I took of Inuits that is also in my gallery here.

Bodypartselfies's avatar

How interesting ... would have been good to get the credit for photos

now I know how the John travolta movie got its name ..( think I’ve remembered that right)


JosephThomas's avatar

Here's how the credit for my photo was published:

This image or file is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain in the United States.

I was that "Airman."

What Travolta movie are you talking about? :)

davincipoppalag's avatar

What on earth did you do to get stationed at Thule! hehe (we got Elmendorf in Anchorage)

JosephThomas's avatar

That's what the wise-guy clerk said when he handed me my orders. LOL.

The good part was that no one there was trying to kill me.

davincipoppalag's avatar

Nothin but the weather! hehew lol

JosephThomas's avatar

The potential was there. Sixty-five below zero needs to be taken seriously. Incredibly, none of the crew was wearing cold weather gear when they abandoned the ship. It was all left on board. They were lucky to have survived the cold. Five of six crew members survived, and the one who perished died on impact; his parachute harness was burned and gave way when the parachute opened. Or so they said. Which, come to think of it, is probably classified information.

If you go to you'll see details, and you'll also see this image and another of my photographs from my tour (also in my Photography gallery somewhere) of some eskimos and their dog team. The crash investigators hire the eskimos to get them to the crash site. The icecap was too thin to bear the weight of heavy vehicles.

davincipoppalag's avatar

interesting stuff... one of the cruises my wife and I took to bermuda we were seated at dinner with 6 retired b52 pilots... interesting dinners!

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