entered the Coast and Geodetic Survey at the age of twenty-seven.
He was born April 23, 1896 and had already lived an adventurous
life having been raised in the farm country of the Dakotas and
Alberta, Canada. He served eight months on the Texas-Mexico
border as part of a National Guard unit mobilized to protect
against the incursions of Pancho Villa in 1915. This was followed
by duty with the United States Marine Corps during World War
I. He had enlisted in the Marines to assure that he saw action
, but ironically was sent as part of a detachment to Cuba for
most of the duration of the war. In his words, he was making
the world "safe for bananas". In early 1919, he was sent to
Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia, and graduated
as a second lieutenant 10 days prior to his unit being deactivated.
the war, Aslakson entered the University of Minnesota from which
he graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1923. He
immediately entered the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The following
writings are those of Carl Aslakson as he looked back over the
years of his career as a Coast and Geodetic Survey officer and
recalled many of his experiences. Captain Aslakson wrote these
remarkable memoirs in 1979 at the age of 83 for his family members.
It is through the gracious consent of his son, Mr. Corbin Aslakson,
that NOAA has been permitted access to these memoirs.
note: Captain Aslakson did not choose the title for this work
as he was an unpretentious man, who although proud of his work,
only thought of himself as an individual doing his job. But
it is obvious that he was an extraordinary man and an extraordinary
geodesist who devoted his life to ever more precise measurements
of the Earth. During his lifetime he measured more geodetic
baselines by classical manual means than anyone before or after.
He was the pioneer in the United States in precise electronic
distance measurement for geodetic purposes and helped lead the
Coast and Geodetic Survey into the modern world. If any title
fit Carl Aslakson, it was Earth Measurer.