Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Colonel Norman Vaughn - Explorer

Colonel Vaughn is on the left. This photo taken on 1928-1932 Expedition to Antarctica.

1905 - 2005

Colonel Norman Dane Vaughan was a member of the first Byrd Antarctic Expedition in 1928-1930 and the first American to mush dogs in the Antarctic. A monument at 10,320 feet, Mount Vaughan was named to honor Norman by Admiral Richard Byrd for his contributions to the Byrd Antarctic Expedition.

Vaughan served in World War II in the Department of Search and Rescue. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge while commanding dog sled ambulances used for the rescue of wounded soldiers. He later became Chief of Search and Rescue for the North Atlantic Division of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the air wing of the United Nations. In the Korean War, he served in the Psychological Warfare Department, assigned to the Pentagon.

Vaughan participated in the Dog Racing Event of the 1932 Olympic Games. He has mushed in 13 Iditarod Sled Dog Races in Alaska, and was awarded the Most Inspirational Musher Award and True Grit Award in 1987. Three years later he was named the Iditarod's Musher of the Year (1990).

During the late 1990's Norman initiated an annual Serum Run by dog sleds that followed the same Iditarod Trail used in 1925 to dash anti-toxin to Nome to aid hundreds of dying Eskimos suffering from diptheria.

Norman's motto in life was: Dream Big and Dare to Fail. His writings include, My Life of Adventure and With Byrd at the Bottom of the World.

The final published work of Norman Vaughan is the 'Foreword' he wrote in PURSUING THE UNTAMED, 2005.

What'll You Do for Your Centennial?
Explorer Col. Norman Vaughan has big plans for his birthday As told to Claire Antoszewski

Col. Norman Vaughan, the last living member of Admiral Richard E. Byrd's 1928-1930 Antarctic expedition (the first to fly over the South Pole), has also raced a dog-team in the 1932 Olympic Games, led more than 200 rescue dogs in World War II's Battle of the Bulge, and competed in the Iditarod 13 times. Some heart trouble has kept him from mushing of late, but for his 100th birthday, the "Indomitable Snowman" from Salem, Massachusetts, plans a trip that would test the hearts of men half his age. He's no blowhard, but after 99 years on Earth, he's not short on advice, either.

I was born on December 19, 1905. For my 100th birthday, I plan to go back to Antarctica and climb the mountain that's named for me.

I climbed Mount Vaughan for the first time just before my 89th birthday. I was very glad to be the first person to climb it. It's a very rugged mountain. There are long glaciers on both the north and south sides. I am planning to climb the south glacier which has anywhere between a 30- and 50-degree slope. It is mandatory to rope up because there are many crevasses, and if you slip into a crevasse, you might never come out. Most likely we will take the same route, but the details haven't been finalized yet. I will have six guides, plus a doctor and a nurse at the base. I will have my first taste of champagne ever at the summit. I've never had a drink in my life. Well, only at the altar when I took communion.

My advice for young explorers, or anyone, is dream big and dare to fail. If you don't try to accomplish your dream, you fail before you start.

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