Paul Grisham and his wife Carole Salazar look over his wallet and the items that were inside when he lost it in Antarctica back in 1968 at their home in the San Carlos neighborhood of San Diego, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP)
Paul Grisham and his wife Carole Salazar look over his wallet and the items that were inside when he lost it in Antarctica back in 1968 at their home in the San Carlos neighborhood of San Diego, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP)

Wallet lost in Antarctica found 53 years later

  • Grisham, who joined the Navy in 1948, was sent to Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze, which supported scientists.
AP | By HT Correspondent, California
PUBLISHED ON FEB 07, 2021 03:01 AM IST

Paul Grisham’s wallet was missing for so long at the bottom of the world he forgot all about it. Fifty-three years later, the 91-year-old has the wallet back along with mementos of his 13-month assignment as a US Navy meteorologist on Antarctica in the 1960s.

“I was just blown away,” Grisham said told San Diego Union-Tribune after the wallet was handed over to him on January 30.

At their home in the San Carlos neighbourhood of San Diego, California, Grisham and his wife Carole Salazar look at the items that were inside when he lost the wallet back in 1968 – his Navy ID card and an “Atomic, Biological, and Chemical Warfare Pocket Reference” card among others.

Grisham, who joined the Navy in 1948, was sent to Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze, which supported scientists. He lost the brown leather wallet sometime in 1968 and forgot about it later. In 2014, it was found behind a locker during the demolition of a building at McMurdo station on Ross Island.

It took a team of amateur detectives -- Stephen Decato and his daughter Sarah Lindbergh, from US’s New Hampshire, and Bruce McKee of the NGO Indiana Spirit of ’45 -- to track down Grisham. The three have previously worked to return a stolen bracelet to a Navy veteran, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune report.

Decato had, in the past, worked for an agency that does research in Antarctica and was sent the wallet by his former boss, George Blaisdell. Decato’s daughter eventually tracked down Grisham through the Naval Weather Service Association, so he could receive 53 years later.

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