Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tiedust!

The D, 11/21/1941
This weekend Dartmouth will co-host the North American Orienteering Championship 2016. Orienteering, for those not in the know, is a competition where contestants hike/race from point to point using a map and a compass. It is like competitive Geocaching without the technology. Dartmouth is a fitting sponsor of the event because 75 years ago the first Orienteering competition in the United States pitted Dartmouth fraternities against each other in what they called a "Tiedust."

The event occurred just two weeks before Pearl Harbor, and Dartmouth students were arguing in the pages of The Dartmouth whether the U.S. should enter the war. The campus atmosphere was beginning to change as students contemplated the prospect of future military service and war.

Finnish Army Lieutenant Piltti Heiskanen, who was on campus teaching military skiing, organized the event. Both members of the winning team entered the military after Pearl Harbor. Paul Hanlon '43 became a lieutenant on a landing craft in the Pacific and Dick Whiting '44 served in the Army infantry. Orienteering, though it seemed like a game at the time, was preparing them for an all-too-"real life" that was coming far sooner than they realized.

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