Dufek, George J. (George John), 1903-

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George John Dufek (1903- ) was an American naval officer and arctic expert. Born in Rockford, Illinois, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at his local high school and was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1921. Upon graduation in 1925 he received his ensign's commission and commenced his career aboard the battleship USS Maryland . In 1932 he entered flight training school at the U.S. Navy air station in Pensacola, Florida; after graduating as a naval aviator in 1933 he served as navigator and executive officer on three different ships

By 1939 Dufek had been promoted to lieutenant. That spring he requested and received an assignment with Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's third expedition to Antarctica, where he served as navigator of the USS Bear, the flagship of the expedition. In recognition of his many hours of exploratory flying over the South Polar continent Dufek later received the Antarctic Expedition Medal.

During World War II Dufek commanded a flight training squadron, served as senior naval aviator in Algeria during the invasion of North Africa, assisted in the planning for the invasion of Sicily and Salerno and, after his promotion to captain and subsequent reassignment, the invasion of southern France. In September 1944 he assumed command of the USS Bogue, which sank the final German submarine lost in World War II.

After a brief post-war stint in Japan, Dufek was assigned as chief staff officer to a U.S. Navy-Coast Guard task force to establish weather bases in the polar regions. While there he participated in Operation Highjump, a Naval expedition to Antarctica under the command of Admiral Byrd, during which he made the first flight over the Thurston Peninsula and later rescued six survivors of another flight over the same area. He returned to Washington D.C. briefly but by 1947 was back in the Antarctic, this time commanding a task force sent to supply existing weather stations and to establish new ones near the Pole.

During the Korean War the Navy placed Dufek in command of the USS Antietam, then on Kwajalein Island in the Pacific and finally at Whidbey Island Naval air station in Oak Harbor, Washington. But in 1954 his cold-weather expertise was again in demand when he joined a special antarctic planning group preparing for the Navy's Operation Deepfreeze, a scientific polar research expedition. When planning was complete Dufek was given command of Task Force 43, which included more than 80 officers and 1000 enlisted men, three ice-breakers, and three cargo ships, was charged with logistics and support for the expedition. Among other accomplishments the task force established bases on Ross Island and in Little America, and on October 31, 1956 Admiral Dufek and six fellow travelers became the first Americans ever to set foot at the South Pole and to plant the American flag, and the first men ever to land on the pole from the air. After Admiral Byrd's death, Dufek was appointed to succeed him as supervisor of U.S. programs in the South Polar Regions.

Among the numerous recognitions and awards he has received are the Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, Croix de Guerre and the Korean Presidential Citation. He is a member of the Legion of Honor with the rank of chevalier, and in August 1957 he received the Distinguished Service Medal.

[Adapted from "Dufek, George J." in Current Biography (1957).]

From the guide to the George Dufek Papers, 1946-1971, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION quot;HI JUMPquot; USCGC NORTHWIND 11 (WAGB-282) CUTTING THROUGH ICE IN ICE PACK
referencedIn Loew's, Inc., Collection. 1939 - 1948. Motion Picture Films. 1939 - 1948. THE SECRET LAND
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. DEEP FREEZE II
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. RESCUE OF SURVIVORS
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION quot;HI JUMPquot; PBM OPERATION
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE II
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE II Wigram, New Zealand
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. PRESENTATION OF MEDAL TO RADM DUFEX BY ADM BURKE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE II
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE quot;Huskyquot; Dogs on USS EDISTO (AGB-2)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE II
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION quot;HI JUMPquot; TRANSFER OF SUPPLIES USS PINE ISLAND (AV-12) amp; USS BROWNSON (DD-868) TRANSFER of PBM WRECK SURVIORS
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION HI-JUMP CREW OF GEO. I PRIOR TO TAKE OFF OF FATAL HOP; PREPARING FOR FLIGHT ABOARD USS PINE ISLAND (AV-12)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION HI-JUMP PBM (GEO.II) HOISTED ABOARD; PBM (GEO.III) LANDS WITH SURVIVORS; SURVIVORS ARE TAKEN OUT OF PLANE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE USS ARNEB (AKA-56) Departing Norfolk
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE I (En Route to Scott Isl. to Little America, at McMurdo)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION quot;HI JUMPquot; USS BROWNSON (DD-868), USS PINE ISLAND (AV-12) AND USS CANISTEO (AO-99) DURING REFUELING OPERATION
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. DEEP FREEZE II
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. ADM. TYREE RELIEVES ADM. DUFEK
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. OPERATIONAL DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION HIGH JUMP: ICEBERGS: HELICOPTER LANDS
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION quot;HI JUMPquot; USS CANISTEO (AO-99) AND USS PINE ISLAND (AV-12) REFUELING OPERATION
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. HELICOPTER CRASHES INTO WATER CREW RESCUED PBM OPERATION (Operation quot;Hi-Jumpquot;)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE IV
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEPFREEZE IV
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION quot;HI JUMPquot; ICEBERGS: CAPTAIN DUFEK FALLS INTO WATER WHILE TRANSFERRING TO USS PINE ISLAND (AV-12)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE II
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. DEEP FREEZE II
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEPFREEZE IV (Adm. Dufek's Farewell to Antarctica)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE I
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE, AT SEA
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. DEEPFREEZE III
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. DEEPFREEZE III
referencedIn Fox Movietone News Collection. 1957 - 1963. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 1957 - 1963. Movietone News, Vol. 40, No. 73
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
creatorOf Byrd, Richard Evelyn, 1888-1957. Richard E. Byrd personal papers, 1882-1974. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE Hut Point
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE II
creatorOf Byrd, Richard Evelyn, 1888-1957. Expeditionary records, 1925-1961. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. CNO PRESENTS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY MEDAL TO ADM. DUFEK Constitution Hall, Wash., D.C
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. RESCUE OF SURVIVORS
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE 11 NAS, Quonset Point, R.I
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. quot;DEEPFREEZE quot;54quot;
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEPFREEZE IV
creatorOf George Dufek Papers, 1946-1971 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION HI-JUMP: HELICOPTER TAKES OFF AND IN FLIGHT WITH CAPTAIN GEORGE J. DUFEK ABOARD: ICEBERGS
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE II
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE II McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. DEEP FREEZE Kainan Bay
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION HI-JUMP ASSEMBLING GEAR ON DECK TO BE DROPPED TO SURVIVORS OF GEORGE I; USS PINE ISLAND (AV-12)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. USCGC EASTWIND (WAGB-279)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEPFREEZE IV (Adm. Dufek's Farewell to Antarctica)
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. OPERATION DEEPFREEZE 111
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Antietam (Aircraft carrier) corporateBody
associatedWith Byrd, Richard Evelyn, 1888-1957. person
associatedWith Mariners' Museum (Newport News, Va.) corporateBody
associatedWith United States., Navy, Officers. corporateBody
associatedWith United States., Navy., Task Force 43. corporateBody
associatedWith United States., Navy., Task Force 66. corporateBody
associatedWith United States., Navy., Task Force 68. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Arctic regions.
Antarctica.
Polar regions.
Subject
Scientific expeditions, Polar regions
Scientific expeditions--Arctic regions
International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958
Transportation, Military, Cold weather conditions, Research
Science and medicine
Scientific expeditions--Antarctica
Military history
Admirals--United States
Occupation
Admirals
Function

Person

Birth 1903-02-10

Death 1977-02-10

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 42032180