ARMED FORCES: And Then There Were 13

It began as a routine rescue operation. Within 24 hours after an Air Force C-47 disappeared over Greenland's bleak south coast, search planes spotted the crash, 100 miles north of the Air Force base at Bluie West One.* Supplies were parachuted down and a B-17 was ordered in from Goose Bay, Labrador to pick up the seven uninjured crewmen. But from then on Greenland's treacherous flying weather began sucking in rescue aircraft and men like a snow-whipped whirlpool.

In terse, cautious messages, the Air Force pumped out the bare details of one failure after another. Battling 100-m.p.h. winds and 40-below-zero temperatures,...

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