Historic Documents & Official Publications (Database)

Documents, including PDF photo collections, reproductions and scans of drawings, illustrations, and images, from the archives of the U.S. Coast Guard and its five predecessor agencies: the Revenue Cutter Service, the Life-Saving Service, the Lighthouse Service, the Bureau of Navigation, and the Steamboat Inspection Service from the Coast Guard Archives and Special Collections, Coast Guard, and National Archives.

NOTE: Documents provided are in the public domain.

U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office
2703 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20593-7031

U.S. Coast Guard Museum
Coast Guard Academy - Waesche Hall
15 Mohegan Ave
New London, CT 06320-8100

Contacting us:  U.S.C.G. Historian's Office

Images & Photographs

North-East Greenland Sledge Patrol (World War II) by CAPT Bob Desh, USCG (Ret.) & FCGH

The North-East Greenland Sledge Patrol -- A unique and lasting legacy of the U.S. Coast Guard’s defense of Greenland during WWII. With the signing of a protection agreement between Greenland and the United States in April 1941, the U.S. Armed Forces became responsible for the defense of the world’s largest island. A Danish possession strategically located between North America and Europe, Greenland was the ideal place to gather meteorological data essential to forecasting weather in the North Atlantic and Europe. It was also home to rich deposits of cryolite, at the time, a substance essential to aluminum production. The Coast Guard’s pioneering exploration of the Labrador Sea in support of its International Ice Patrol mission made it the ideal service to lead the effort. Well before official entry into the war, Coast Guard forces were operating in and around Greenland. In June 1941, the Northeast Greenland Patrol organized under the command of Cdr. Edward “Iceberg” Smith, USCG. One of his greatest concerns was the enemy establishing weather stations along Greenland’s vast, rugged, unpopulated northeast coast. In addition to ice capable ships patrolling from the sea, a small group of brave Danish, Norwegian, and Greenlandic (Inuit) hunters were organized to patrol a stark 700-mile stretch of Greenland’s coast by dogsled in search of German interlopers. Operating hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle, the North-East Greenland Sledge Patrol was one of the most unique military units of the war.

Photo by: CAPT Robert "Bob" Desh, USCG (Ret.) & FCGH
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