Sam O. White, a pioneer in early Alaska aviation, became Alaska’s first flying game warden. Born in Maine in 1891, White served in the military in World War I, and heard fantastic tales of Alaska from fellow soldiers. He headed north in 1922 at the dawn of Alaska aviation, even though he wasn’t thinking of airplanes at that time. He landed in Ft. Yukon to become a game enforcement officer for the federal Alaska Game Commission in 1927, but decided there had to be a better way to patrol a vast territory than being on foot or with a dog team.
With his own money, White bought an airplane and learned to fly from Noel and Ralph Wien, then used the plane to patrol his territory, making him the first flying game warden in Alaska, probably in the world. White gained a reputation for bringing understanding of game conservation policies and laws, all while treating Alaskans fairly and with respect. In 1941 Sam White quit as a game warden and became chief pilot for Wien Airlines. In all of his years of Alaska flying, chronicled in Jim Rearden’s book, “Sam O. White, Alaskan,” White never injured a single passenger. Sam O. White officially retired from flying in the early 1960s.