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Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Soldin, Emitt

by Emitt Soldin
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Emitt Leroy Soldin was born in Skagway, Alaska, October 14, 1924, to Mavis Clair Thatcher and Emitt Lee Thatcher and adopted in 1939, by Hans Soldin.

In June, 1941, Emitt enrolled in a pilot training course in Juneau, then graduated from the Skagway Public School in 1942. After high school, he attended one quarter at the University of Washington in Seattle. In September 1943, he went to work for Ellis Airlines in Ketchikan as a swamper and mechanicís helper.

On April 21, 1944, he was drafted into the USAAF at Fort Lewis, and after basic training in Amarillo, Texas, was assigned to Consolidated B24 and B32 flight engineer school, in Keesler, Mississippi. After completion, he was assigned to General Electric external turbo supercharger school in Lynn, Massachusetts, from February to April 1945. The next assignments were Hunter Field, Georgia and Chico Airbase, Merced (Castle Field) as supercharger specialist. He was discharged at Camp Beale, California, on June 8, 1946. In September, 1946, Emitt enrolled in Gomperes Trade Schoolís aviation course in San Francisco and received his A&E mechanicís license in November. He operated a one man aircraft repair shop in Chico, from January, 1947, until that fall, then worked as mechanic for three different operators in Sacramento Valley before returning to Juneau in January, 1949, to work for Alaska Coastal Airlines as pilot mechanic.

In January, 1954, he began work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as pilot mechanic, flying Grumman Widgeon and Goose, in Southeast and Bristol Bay. After statehood in 1959, most of the USFWS aviation department was turned over to the State, so he went to work for USDI, Bureau of Land Management, as a pilot mechanic flying smoke jumpers and survey crews until June, 1962. From June, 1962, until November, 1963, he took a job flying a Grumman Goose for Berny Shaw, in support of a Richfield Oil drilling operation in Wide Bay, Alaska.

After losing their house in the 1964 earthquake, he and his family went to Seattle for the winter of 1964-1965. He flew as co-pilot in a C46 out of Boeing Field for Skyvan Airways, hauling stove oil to various towns and sites in northern, central and western Alaska. Returning to Alaska in June, 1965, he flew for Alaska Department of Fish and Game, doing the old Federal FWS enforcement and survey work. Flying DC3ís and C123ís, he worked for FAA in airway inspection and logistic support, beginning December, 1966. He was retired medically in August 1978, because of arthritis impairment.

In his aviation career, he accumulated approximately 3000 hours in Goose and Widgeon, 4000 hours in Fairchild C123ís, 5000 hours in DC3ís in logistics and airway flight inspection, plus 1000 hours in miscellaneous other aircraft, Sea Bee, Bellanca, Cessna, Aeronca, Pipers, Stinsons and even two hours in a P51, now Dago Red.

Emitt has three children, Lori Mitchell born January 25, 1955, Ken Soldin, born March 22, 1956 and Rick Soldin, born June 15, 1957, and five grandkids and three great grandkids.


Emitt Soldin with oldest son Ken.