National Geographic : 1958 Jul
Western Electric Co. for U. S. Air Force Boeing B-47, Patrolling the Northern Frontier, Streaks Above a Gleaming Radome mechanic. A DEW Liner aboard managed to find a sleeping bag in the wreckage. It was not until 36 hours later that air search parties located him, fractured and frostbitten. What attracts men to jobs on the line? "Money," succinctly explains Jack Webber, Federal Electric's personneelm'*n f e DE ne. "More than 90 percent of the men have a goal-to pay off a mortgage, to build a nest egg, to start a business." End of Tour Brings a Bonus Salaries for radicians start at $850 a month, and sector superintendents earn $17,000 a year. Food and shelter are supplied gratis. If a man fulfills his contract he receives a $1,500 bonus; if he returns for a second tour, he obtains a substantial raise in salary. Halfway through their Arctic stint, DEW Liners are turned loose for a two week rest and recreation leave. Some men, starved for sunshine and warmth, have flown as far as Hawaii and Mexico to spend their vacations. By proving that it is possible for man and his most complex machines to live and work in the Far North, the DEW Line has opened the door to exploitation of the region's incal 146 culable subterranean wealth. Locked in by the permafrost is a treasure trove-coal, oil, copper, uranium, immense hoards of rare metals-that will one day flood the world.* Geologists have barely scratched the sur face. But already Point Barrow's petroleum and natural gas resources are known. Nor man Wells, in northern Canada, refines oil produced on the spot, and even supplies diesel fuel to DEW Line sites. From Port Radium, on Great Bear Lake, came uranium used in the first A-bomb. The Smoking Mountains on Franklin Bay-actually a smoldering mass of sulphur and coal-have been burning, ac cording to Eskimo tradition, forever. Through untold centuries the Arctic slept in frozen solitude, inviolate in its chaste, cruel beauty. But man has now invaded the white wilderness in force; his technology has come to stay. As one measure of the profound change wrought by the DEW Line, you may now fly completely across the North American Arctic without losing sight of the lights of a human habitation, and rarely being more than 25 miles from an airstrip. * See "Hunting Uranium Around the World," by Robert D. Nininger, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, October, 1954.