Carl Ben Eielson was born in 1897 in Hatton, North Dakota. Eielson learned to fly with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1918, moving to Fairbanks in 1922. He had accepted a highschool teaching position, but went to work as a pilot for the Farthest North Aviation Company. In 1924 he was awarded the first air mail postal contract in Alaska to deliver mail between Fairbanks and McGrath. Eielson flew for the Wilkins expedition in 1926, becoming the first to fly over the polar cap in 1928. He returned to Alaska in 1929, and crashed while attempting a rescue in Siberia for the cargo ship “Nanuk”.