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William Rigby Jacobs (1906-1957) was born in Ogden, Utah, and attended Weber College and Brigham Young University for his bachelor's degree and the University of Utah and Rush Medical College for his medical degree. In 1941, Jacobs moved with his family to Lewiston, Idaho, and established a general medical practice. He was commissioned with the Air Force in August of 1942, serving as a flight surgeon with the Alaskan Division of the Air Transport Command, in charge of an Arctic Search and Rescue Unit for northern Canada and Alaska. Jacobs served as a medic who parachuted into Arctic rescue situations with sled dogs, and he was awarded the Silver Star for his effort to render aid to a fighter pilot who had parachuted from his disabled aircraft. Jacobs was promoted to captain before being honorably discharged in 1945. Dr. Jacobs died of a heart attack while caring for his Appaloosa horses, which he bred as a hobby.



Processing Information

Arranged and described by Patricia Williams in 2003, updated and encoded by Jessamyn Lloyd in 2020.


Jacobs, William Rigby, 1906-1957


1942-1945, 1998-1999, 2004

bulk 1942-1945


Pauline Jacobs, Mary Heuskinkveld, Gift, 2003, additional material sent by Henry Heuskinkveld in 2003 and 2004, NASM.2003.0050.


0.27 Cubic feet (1 small flatbox, 1 VHS tape)


This collection consists of one scrapbook and some additional materials relating to Dr. William R. Jacobs and his service in the Alaskan Air Transport Command (Arctic Search and Rescue Unit) during World War II.


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials





Arrangement note

This collection is arranged by type of material.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of one scrapbook containing photographs, newspaper articles and correspondence relating to Dr. William R. Jacobs and his service in the Alaskan Air Transport Command (Arctic Search and Rescue Unit) during World War II. The collection also includes copies of letters from Jacobs to his family, 1943-1945; twelve black and white photographs; three issues of the North Star, newsletter for the Alaskan Division, Air Transport Command; miscellaneous magazine articles and correspondence; a report of a medical emergency at Fish Lake, YT, April 1945; and a VHS copy of "Paradocs," which was produced by Dr. Paul Little for the Air Force Television News.







Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests


United States. Air Force -- Search and rescue operations -- Alaska.

United States. Air Force -- Search and rescue operations.

United States. Army Air Forces. Air Transport Command

Jacobs, William Rigby, 1906-1957

Topics Aeronautics
Aviation medicine
Arctic medicine
Rescue work
Rescue dogs
Rescues -- Medals


William Rigby Jacobs (Arctic Search and Rescue Unit) Scrapbook, NASM.2003.0050, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives