Operation Reindeer

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Motor carrier executives and animal experts here prepare for the second part of Operation Reindeer. George M. Sullivan (left), Traffic Manager for Garrison Fast Freight Division of Consolidated Freightways, Inc., together with Smithsonian National Zoological Park Senior Keeper Charles Thomas and Associate Director J. Lear Grimmer, expedite the reindeer to the train for Seward and a ship journey to Seattle. Grimmer and Thomas traveled to remote Kotzebue, Alaska on the Arctic Circle, where they rounded up the animals. An Alaska Air Command plane brought them to Anchorage. Alaska Steamship's S.S. Iliamna then took them 1,400 miles to Seattle, where a special 40 foot trailer from Consolidated Freightways drove the group 3, 100 miles to Washington, D.C. Operation Reindeer was the name for the transfer of 14 reindeer and 1 caribou to the National Zoological Park from Alaska in 1958. The animals were a gift for Alaska's admittance to the United States of American (which became official in 1959). The Operation was a joint effort between the Smithsonian, State of Alaska, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Consolidated Freightways, Alaska Air Command, Alaska Steamship Co., Alaska Railroad, and Garrison Fast Freight. The reindeer and caribou all arrived safely to Washington, D.C. on December 11, 1958, just in time to participate in that year's "Pageant of Peace" on the National Mall.


  • Sullivan, George M
  • Thomas, Charles
  • Grimmer, J. Lear
  • Iliamna (Steamship)
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • Alaska Steamship Co
  • United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Consolidated Freightways, inc
  • United States Air Force Alaskan Air Command
  • Alaska Railroad
  • Garrison Fast Freight

Cite as

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 365, Image No. SIA2011-0029

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520



Restrictions & Rights

  • No access restrictions Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at osiaref@si.edu
  • Copyright Not Evaluated


  • Reindeer
  • Caribou


  • Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
  • Alaska
  • Seattle (Wash.)


Black-and-white photographs

Local number

SIA RU000365 [SIA2011-0029]

Physical description

9.52 x 7.83

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