R/V Polar Duke Farewell Tribute
in the Laboratory for Microbial Oceanography

NSF Office of Polar Programs tributes


On 10 January 1997 a dinner was held in Antarctica at the U.S. Palmer Station to honor the crew of the R/V Polar Duke. Dr. Polly Penhale, the on-site NSF representative at that time, spoke on behalf of the many scientists who could not be present for this celebration. In addition to her own words of thanks for a job well done, Polly read letters from two NSF officials in Washington who also expressed their heartfelt thanks and appreciation. The text of these letters, from Neal Sullivan and Al Sutherland, is presented below.



OFFICE OF POLAR PROGRAMS

Captain Karl Sanden
R/V Polar Duke
c/o Palmer Station
Antarctica


Dear Captain Sanden and Crew of the Polar Duke,

I understand, from Polly Penhale, that tonight Palmer Station will be hosting a party celebrating the excellent performance of the Polar Duke and her crew. More importantly the party will also, I am sure, celebrate the long term friendships that all those who have sailed on her have with you and the crew of the Polar Duke. I regularly hear praises of how well the Duke performs and how professional and competent the crew is. I also hear more. I hear how enjoyable it is to work with all of you. These expressions of joy mean, to me, that you have gone beyond just doing a good job. You have become interested in the work. You have cared deeply about what is being done and the people who are doing it. You have become a part of the team that is doing the science and have shared in the happiness of successes and the disappointments of failures. You have made the Duke more than just a platform for doing work. For over a decade you have made her the home for literally thousands of people who work for the U.S. Antarctic Program.

I thank you for going beyond the task of doing a great job and becoming friends to so many of us. We will all miss you.

Regards,
Neal Sullivan

OFFICE OF POLAR PROGRAMS
POLAR RESEARCH SUPPORT SECTION

Captain Karl Sanden
R/V Polar Duke
c/o Palmer Station
Antarctica


Dear Karl:

I add my words of thanks and praise to you, the present crew and all the past crews of the Polar Duke who have served the U.S. Antarctic Program so well. I wish that I could be there in person to raise a toast to all of you.

I remember a Distinguished Visitor dinner at Palmer Station a few years ago. All the diplomats, NSF folks and ASA senior members were raising well-deserved toasts to Palmer Station and praising the work done there. When the toasts were just about done, I was surprised to see Cole Mather stand up and raise his glass. Now, I'm sure that you'll agree with me, that Cole is a man of few words, and the words that he does speak are often ones that might not go over well in polite company!! (Only kidding, Cole). So I wondered just what sort of a message was Cole going to give us all. What Cole did say was, as I should have suspected, quite profound. Cole raised a toast to the Polar Duke that everyone else had forgotten to praise. He said that it's often that the Duke is forgotten -- because the Duke does things without great fanfare, without a big gaudy splash. The Duke goes about her business in a quiet, competent way -- day after day after day -- always dependable, always working, never needing much attention, always expected to do the best and, more often than not, exceeding all expectations.

Thank you, Karl. Thank you Duke crew, past and present. And thanks to all in Rieber who support you so well. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job. Be assured that you will not be forgotten. You have set a standard that will be hard to meet, and impossible to exceed.

Warm Regards,
Al Sutherland

POLAR SCIENCE SECTION
February 7, 1997

Captain Karl Sanden
R/V Polar Duke
c/o Palmer Station
Antarctica


Dear Captain Karl and the Crew of the Polar Duke:

I wanted to send my thanks to you and the past crews of the Polar Duke, for many productive years of partnership with the US Antarctic Program. My first trip to Antarctica was aboard the Polar Duke in 1987. At that time, I was impressed with the professionalism on board ship and have heard nothing but praise for the ship and crew ever since. The scientists supported in the Polar Biology and Medicine Program have told me many times over the years how important the operation of the ship has been to the success of their research. The genuine interest in the research that was shown by all of you was mentioned over and over again by my investigators. We have all developed friendships that can never be forgotten.

To me, meeting the Polar Duke in Punta Arenas was like "coming home" for a journey to Antarctica. You helped make Antarctica a most wonderful experience. I will miss you all.

Best Regards,
Polly A. Penhale