The Pinetree Line Resources




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The Air Defense Radar Museum – CONUS and Alaska

The Pinetree Line Books

Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume 1: Ontario
Author: Paul Ozorak (1994)
ISBN #: 0-9695127-1-6Brief:

This book is a soft cover with over 270 pages of detail pertaining to 82 military installations which were once active in the province of Ontario.

Radar stations include Armstrong, Edgar, Falconbridge, Foymount, Lowther, Moosonee, Pagwa, Ramore, and Sioux Lookout. There are a number of photos, some from the days when these units were operational, and some taken by the author during his visits long after the stations were closed. The book sells for $18.00 (add an additional $4.00 for shipping) and can be ordered from the author as follows:


Paul Ozorak,
PO Box 20009,
Rideau East PO,
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1N 9N5,

Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume 2: Quebec
Author: Paul Ozorak (1998)
ISBN #: 0-9695127-2-4Brief:

This book is a soft cover with over 285 pages of detail pertaining to 70 military installations which were once active in the province of Quebec.

Radar stations include Chibougamau, Lac St.-Denis, Moisie, Mont Apica, Parent, St.-Sylvestre and Senneterre. There are a number of photos, some from the days when these units were operational, and some taken by the author during his visits long after the stations were closed. The book sells for $28.00 (this price includes shipping and handling) and can be ordered from the author as follows:


Paul Ozorak,
PO Box 20009,
Rideau East PO,
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1N 9N5,

A Friendly Invasion (The American Military in Newfoundland: 1940-1990)
Author: John N. Cardoulis (1990)
ISBN #: 0-920911-85-4Brief:

This book is a hard cover with over 220 pages of details and photographs pertaining to the American military installations in Newfoundland and Labrador with emphasis on the time period 1940-1990. The book has 11 chapters – each of which contains detail of special interest, as follows: 1 – Where It All Began; 2 – Argentia Naval Station; 3 – Fort Pepperrell; 4 – Gander Airfield; 5 – Harmon Field, Stephenville; 6 – Fort McAndrew; 7 – US Army Repeater and Direction Finding Stations; 8 – Goose Air Base, Labrador; 9 – Radar and Aircraft Control and Warning Stations; 10 – Miscellaneous Major US Military Disasters; 11 – Memorable Events With the Americans.

Of special interest to those wanting detail on Pinetree Line radar stations is Chapter 9, which provides 11 pages of assorted detail and photos.

The sad part about this book is the simple fact that is no longer available for purchase. However, I was able to locate a copy in our local library. It is well worth tracking down for either reference or general interest. I was able to purchase a mint condition used copy of this book from John W. Doull, Bookseller in Halifax NS. This outlet has the reputation of having the largest collection of used books pertaining to Newfoundland in all of Canada. They can be reached at (902)429-1652 and are more than willing to take a special order for a used copy of this, or almost any other book, at any time. They can also be reached at on the Internet.



A History of the Air Defence of Canada 1948-1997
Author: The NBC Group (Don Nicks, John Bradley, Chris Charland) (1997)
ISBN #: 0-9681973-0-2Brief:

This book is a hard cover with over 200 pages of detail pertaining to the Air Defence Group, Air Defence Units of Canada and Air Defence Stations and Bases of Canada. The book covers every aspect (and then some) of the Pinetree Line radar stations. The book sells for $25.00 (shipping costs are additional) and is probably available from a number of sources within Canada. I was able to purchase my copy in December 1997 from the following:


Gulliver’s Quality Books and Toys,
147 Main Street,
North Bay, Ontario
P1B 2T6Phone: (705)474-7335
Fax: (705)495-0449

They indicated that they had 10 copies remaining in their store at that time – and they also indicated they would have no problems replenishing their stock. 


Lobster Lighthouse and Long-Range Radar
A History of Canadian Forces Station Barrington to 1987

Author: Captain Peter Kvas (1987)
ISBN #: 0-660-12300-2Brief:

This book is a hard cover with more than 125 pages of detail pertaining to the history of the Pinetree Line long range radar station which was located at Barrington, Nova Scotia. Air Defence of Canada during the time period 1945-1958. The book has 35 chapters – each of which contains detail of special interest, and deals with all aspects of the radar station and the surrounding area. The book also contains a large number of photographs and clippings.

I was able to locate a copy of this book in our local library. It is well worth tracking down for either reference or general interest.



No Boundaries Upstairs
Canada, The United States and the Origins of North American Air Defence, 1945-1958

Author: Joseph T Jockel (1987)
ISBN #: 0-7748-0271-5Brief:

This book is a hard cover with 160 pages of detail pertaining to the Air Defence of Canada during the time period 1945-1958. The book has six chapters – each of which contains detail of special interest, as follows: 1 – Introduction; 2 – Joint Planning for Defence Co-Operation, 1945-47; 3 – Building and Linking the Air Defence Systems; Fighter Aircraft, the Permanent/Pinetree Radars, and Tactical Co-Operation, 1946-53; 4 – The DEW and Mid-Canada Lines; 5 – The Creation of NORAD, 1954-58; 6 – Conclusion .

Of special interest to those wanting detail on Pinetree Line radar stations is Chapter 3, which provides detail on the construction and manning of sites as they were initially identified. Examples are Saskatoon Mountain, AB (Beaverlodge), Hebron, Labrador (Saglek), Burwell, NWT (Resolution Island), Lac St. Joseph, QC (Lac St. Denis), Ste. Marie QC (St. Sylvestre), Clarke City QC (Moisie), McCarthy QC (Parent) and Chatham NB (St. Margarets).

I was able to locate a copy of this book in our local library. It is well worth tracking down for either reference or general interest.



Permanent Echoes
Author: Peter Garland (1991)
ISBN #: 0-919581-75-7Brief:

This book is a soft cover with 255 pages of a story which is based on the life of AC1 John Hunter, a FtrCop who spent time on the Pinetree Line.


There were thousands of us in the late fifties; the young men and women who operated radar on the isolated stations of Canada’s Pinetree Line, stretching from Gander, Newfoundland to Holberg, Vancouver Island.

Most of us were kids, seventeen or eighteen-years-old. Some of us were high school graduates. All of us were graduates of Manning Depot, the Royal Canadian Air Force basic training base in St. Jean, Quebec that specialized in discipline and obedience. From Manning Depot most of us went to the Radar School in Clinton, Ontario where they turned out FtrCops – Fighter Control Operators. Scope dopes they called us. They rolled us out like cookies coming off an assembly line.


Because the Russians were coming. Any moment the sky would darken with the dreaded Red’s missiles and bombers and we would be dust.

The politicians in the United States, busy hunting Communists under their beds, feared vast squadrons of bombers and missiles were poised and ready to leave the Motherland at any moment. They decided we must have sentinels and that we must have a way to repel and destroy the godless commies when they came. Canada’s politicians agreed.

Businessmen on both sides of the border smelled big fat defence contracts.

So they begat NORAD, the North American Air Defence Command, a unique international defence force.

If the worse happened, Canada was to be the battle-ground. And it almost did in ’62, but Khruschev blinked first in a staring contest with Kennedy.

The Prime Minister of Canada had a hole dug near Carp, just outside Ottawa, that he could duck into in case the twister came, like Auntie Em and the farmhands.

Were we the Dorothys and the Totos. If the nuclear twister came, we couldn’t make it into the storm shelter. We couldn’t think about that then. We were young and immortal and the world was ours.

Maybe you passed one of these places, the radomes gleaming white. Most of them are deserted now, abandoned to the weeds and snowdrifts as technology improved and the threat withered. On some former radar stations the base housing and administration and recreational buildings have been converted into self-supporting industrial villages and some into resorts or health farms. In Clinton, Ontario, the white radome under which so many trained, is still visible from the highway as you pass what is now an industrial park. In a small square in the centre of Clinton stands the old search radar antenna, removed from the radome and now a lasting tribute to the citizens and the airmen and airwomen whose lives had mingled briefly. When I lived it, it was 1958. Our cold war was still new. Our uniforms were new. Our rock’n’roll was new.

For the young Fighter Cops in the Royal Canadian Air Force, our freedoms were new.

Here’s part of our story. Most of it really happened. It’s a story that I’ve wanted to tell for a long time.

Peter Garland

The book sells for $15.00 (this includes shipping and mailing costs) and can be obtained directly from the author at the following address:


Heart’s Content Publishing,
35088 Coursey Line,
R. R. #1,
Lucan, Ontario,
N0M 2J0,

Quest for a Northern Air Route
Author: Alexander Forbes (1953)
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 52-12262Brief:

This book is a hard cover with more than 137 pages of detail, illustrations, maps and diagrams pertaining to the search for northern air strip locations such as Crystal I and Crystal II. The book has 20 chapters and cover the time period of 1941 to 1943. While this book does not provide any detail directly relating to any of the Pinetree Line radar stations, it does provide some interesting background on how Frobisher Bay was eventually selected as the location for Crystal II. We are, of course, aware that Frobisher Bay was eventually selected as the location for the 926th AC&W Squadron and that this unit was operational as part of the Pinetree Line between 1953 and 1961.

I was able to locate a copy of this book in our local library. It is well worth tracking down for either reference or general interest.



Please advise us by email if you know of any other book pertaining to the Pinetree Line. 

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The Pinetree Line Videos



National Film Board Videos

The National Film Board of Canada carries a wide selection of movies which were produced in the 50s and 60s. Many of these are available on the original 16mm format, and the NFB is in the process of slowly converting these items to VHS video format.The NFB can be reached at 1-800-267-7710 (283-9000 in the Montreal area) or at on the Internet.


Title of Video:Airwomen
NFB Ident. Number:
Running Time: 17 minutes
Release Date: 1956
Selling Price: $39.95Official Description: A Fighter Control Operator must know her radar screen as well as she knows her own face. Elaine Harrington learns to do exactly that as she comes successfully through the rugged preliminary training to which the Royal Canadian Air Force subjects its recruits, both male and female. Elaine’s dream is realized with a posting to Canada’s NATO force in Germany.

Our Description: As was the case with “Radar Station”, this movie was filmed at RCAF Station Lac St. Denis. This identification was made by comparing detail on the horizontal plotting table (frame by frame) with a very clear photo that I have in my files. Additionally, there were not too many radar stations with a “lake” beside the Domestic site, so this was a “no-brainer”. The movie was filmed during the fall of 1956 – as is evidenced by the color of the leaves on the trees. It is interesting to note that there was only one single radome shown of the Operations site – perhaps an attempt to guard the secret of the location.

There are a number of interior film shots showing a crew changeover, the upper dais, horizontal plotting tables, tote boards and PPI’s (radar scopes).

Our heroine (Elaine Harrington) has been stationed here for two and a half years and finally gets her dream transfer to 4(F) Wing, Baden Baden Germany. Once the posting has been established, there are moments of reflection as she recalls her sign up process and subsequent basic training at St. Jeans. Of course, there is the “dreaded” clearance process on departure from Lac St. Denis.

We next find Elaine on arrival at 4(F) Wing in Germany where her brother just happens to be an F-86 pilot. It is at this moment where the producers make a mistake in stating that Elaine will be watching the skies on her radar scope – just as she had done in Canada. This is an obvious error, as FtrCops were mis-employed at the European Fighter bases in Wing Operations – where duties included communicating with Air Div. HQ in Metz, and initiating the scramble of jet aircraft. The film was made in late 1956 – so there is a possibility that the radar station in Metz may have been operational at that time (callsign “Yellowjack”). The radar station was operational, making use of the British type 80 long range radar equipment when I arrived at 2(F) Wing, Grostenquin France in September 1960. If my recall is correct, the radar station was closed in 1962.

As can be expected, there is a scramble of four F-86 Sabre aircraft. The balance of this short film is centered on the jet fighters in flight, and Elaine sight seeing the local area.

I had hoped that this movie was based on the FtrCop basic training course in Clinton Ontario, but the detail from Lac St. Denis made this film extremely interesting. Yet another trip down “memory lane”.


Title of Video:Canada’s Air Defence
NFB Ident. Number: 113C0156077
Running Time: 33 minutes 33 seconds
Release Date: 1956
Format: Color
Selling Price: $39.95Official Description: A highly integrated defence network is necessary to give adequate protection to a country like Canada. This film shows how the Royal Canadian Air Force fulfills its primary role of maintaining constant vigilance and providing a blanket of aerial defence. It illustrates the combat readiness and shows how, in the event of an attack, warnings would be flashed to National Defence Headquarters in eastern Canada and to Continental Defense headquarters in the United States.

Our Description: This film stresses “teamwork” and the story is based on CF-100 fighter pilots who are scrambled against unknown aircraft. Shoulder patches identify the pilots as belonging to 480 Squadron. While the film does not identify the fighter base, I think it is North Bay since that was the only military airfield with a runway 08-26 at the time the film was produced. Assuming this is the case then the CF-100 Squadron used in the film would have been 433 AWF Squadron. This squadron was operational in North Bay between October 1955 and August 1961 which is the time period when this film was produced. As can be expected, there are a few asides, and one of these is a visit to a radar station. There are no exterior shots of the radar domes, but there are quite a few interior shots which show the horizontal plotting boards and a large number of female FtrCops. (The good old days of manual control – before SAGE entered the picture) Air Force blue uniforms were the rule of the day. There is an appearance by Group Captain R.W. McNair who reports to Air Vice Marshall L.E. Wray. It is assumed that some of the interior filming was completed at Air Defence Command Headquarters which was situated in St. Hubert as AVM Wray was promoted to that rank on 1 January 1955 and posted to ADHQ until he assumed command of No. 1 Air Division in September 1958 – again within the time frame of the film production. I will not give away the ending of the movie, but I can add that many parts of the film brought back memories of the RCAF I recall from the mid to late 50s.


Title of Video:Radar Station
NFB Ident. Number: 113B0153115
Running Time: 15 minutes
Release Date: 1953
Format: Black and White
Selling Price: $39.95Official Description: A visit with Squadron Leader Bill Lee of the Royal Canadian Air Force reveals operations at a northern Canadian radar defense post. It is typical of the many such posts that stretch across Canada’s arctic.

Our Description: Squadron Leader Bill Lee of the National Film Board makes a visit to a typical radar station. The official detail provided by NFB indicates this film was released in 1953, while the film ends with a “MCMLIV” (1954). The film starts with S/L Lee standing outside with the radome behind him. The radome appears to be early vintage “circular” as opposed to the later “egg-shell” version. There is a panoramic shot, which eventually includes a typical RCAF 40 passenger bus taking staff to the Operations site.

This movie was filmed at RCAF Station Lac St. Denis. How was I able to determine that, you might ask? Well, I managed to compare the detail on the horizontal plotting board in the movie (frame by frame) with a very clear photo that I have in my files – of the horizontal plotting board at Lac St. Denis (See Lac St. Denis photo #3 on this web site). It took some time to analyze, but I finished this task feeling certain that Lac St. Denis was the radar station which was used in the movie.

I was able to identify one aspect. “Airwomen” — they were everywhere, and it appears as if they outnumbered the men by quite a significant ratio.

The film ultimately takes us to the radome where we are allowed to see the gears which rotate the search antenna. It is at this point that we are introduced to the Senior Controller of the radar station, a S/L John Mahoney. His is the only name that is mentioned throughout the film.

S/L Mahoney takes the film crew from the search antenna, into the interior of the radar station. A visit is made to the area where all of the radar scopes were located. We see many shots of FtrCops working in front of radar scopes — and eventually work our way into what is called the “Movements Room” where we are face to face with the infamous “tote boards” and three long “horizontal plotting boards”. It was a treat seeing these boards – after so many years, and remembering the type of detail and information which went on them. I have no idea whether the number of staff in this film was for effect, or whether it represented a typical day – but I did manage to count in excess of 12 female FtrCops working as “plotters” on the horizontal plotting boards.

It was somewhat nostalgic having an interior look at what was the standard multi-level operations complex. Search and height finder equipment and operations on the 3rd floor; Senior Controller and other appropriate staff on the 2nd floor — along with the “cross-tellers” and the horizontal plotting boards and tote boards on the main floor. We were also able to see RCAF staff working on the “dais” with positions such as the Surveillance Controller, the Surveillance Supervisor, and the Identification Officer quite easy to identify.

The story continues – with some detail pertaining to “ongoing training” and a visit to the “canteen”. Two of the female FtrCops are interviewed in the canteen, and day to day station life is discussed until the announcement of an “alert” comes across the PA system. The “alert” — is the result of 4 aircraft which have been designated as “unknown”. Fighters are scrambled, and proceed to intercept — just to find that it was yet another exercise. The unknown aircraft end up being 4 RCAF Lancasters at 25,000 feet.

I was able to determine a few other facts. Our radar station was obviously a typical AC&W as they were taking orders from “sector” when it came to scrambling the fighters. Another item that I picked up on was the use of the original World War II phonetic alphabet (Yoke Baker 52 Abel) – as opposed to the phonetic alphabet that I was taught in 1956.

If you were a FtrCop, and you want a chance to visit your past – then this is a “must film” for you. After all, you can always head to the “mess” for a drink after the movie is over.


Title of Video:Seven Brides For Uncle Sam
NFB Ident. Number: 119C 9197 036
Running Time: 52 minutes 20 seconds
Release Date: 1997
Format: Color
Selling Price: $39.95Official Description: Seven Brides for Uncle Sam documents the stories of seven Newfoundland women who married American servicemen. Some of the largest military bases outside of the United States were in Newfoundland. It was called the “friendly invasion”. From the beginning of the Second World War until the recent end of the Cold War, when the last base closed, as many as forty thousand Newfoundland women married Americans. Many of these liaisons were happy; some were not. In this film the momentous events of world history that brought men and women together are but a backdrop to poignant stories of romance, heartbreak, and joy.

The Premiere: Seven Brides had its World Premier on July 28th, 1997 during the Stephenville Festival. The Stephenville Arts and Culture Centre was once part of Ernst Harmon Air Force Base, where part of the story takes place. Five of the stars were able to attend, Ellen and Larry Smith, Agnes (White) Bielec and Elsie and Dennis McGee. The second launch of Seven Brides took place on August 8th, 1997 at the former Argentia Base Theatre. This was the first time the theatre has shown a film since the Americans closed the base in 1994. The remaining stars – Anna Frampton, Kay and Marty King, Linda Bohlke, Peggy (Smith) Krachun and Bud Smith – were all present.

Our Description: Being released in 1997, this film is quite polished and very professional. The story line is centered on the personal life of seven women from Newfoundland – all of which married American servicemen.

The first 14 minutes of the film identifies how the American presence was established at locations such as Fort Pepperrell (later Pepperrell AFB) in St. John’s, and the naval station in Argentia during World War II. The last 38 minutes of the film are dedicated to the Cold War years. Of specific interest to those with background in the Pinetree Line is a section on the radar station which was located at St. Anthony. Construction of the AC&W Squadron at St. Anthony commenced in 1953. There is film footage of the boats that were used to transport the many supplies required to construct the radar station. There is also some extremely clear film footage of the radar station after it has been completed.

Additional film footage of Harmon AFB at Stephenville has excellent coverage of F-102 jet aircraft from the 323rd Fighter Squadron being scrambled (supposedly against the Russian Bear bombers).

The film ends at St. Anthony where we are shown the remains of the radar station.

I was pleased to have obtained this movie. It managed to take me down “memory lane”.


Other Videos

Title of Video:Cadence – 1990
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Release Date: 1990
Format: Color
Selling Price: VariesOfficial Description: When the rebellious Private Bean (Charlie Sheen) lands himself in an army stockade, he finds that all of his room mates belong to a tightly-knit club that he can never hope to join. They are black and he is clearly not. Headed by a street-wise leader named “Stokes” (Lawrence Fishburne), this five-man “Soul Patrol” harbors a wary distrust for Bean that gradually gives way to mutual respect and acceptance. But the tough, bigoted commander (Martin Sheen) is violently opposed to Bean’s new alliance, and now the once-independent Private must stand together with his fellow prisoners against an officer whose personal war threatens to kill them all.

Our Description: Hollywood comes to the Pinetree Line – There was a Pinetree Line long range radar station located near the city of Kamloops, British Columbia. This unit became operational in March 1959 when the 825th AC&W Squadron arrived and the USAF set up shop. Command of this complex was handed over to the RCAF in1962, and this military complex continued operations until it was closed on 1 April 1988 – yet another victim of technological advancement in an ever changing world. Our sources indicate that the domestic site just sat there for two years – gathering dust, moss, and Lord knows what else. There was a small component which provided security (Canadian Corps of Commissionaires) on a 24 hours a day basis – until “Hollywood came to the Pinetree Line” in 1990. The movie “Cadence” was filmed at the Kamloops domestic site. The film, itself, will never win any awards – but did it ever bring back some memories. All of the buildings were in excellent shape when this film was made. There are many shots of the barracks, the main gate, and – well, let’s face it – the entire movie was filmed on or near the domestic site. The film has no bearing on the Pinetree Line what-so-ever – BUT – the film makers made excellent use of the base, which in itself, makes this film worth while – to Pinetree Line buffs. I was able to purchase a copy of Cadence (special order) at a local video store for about $20.00 Canadian funds. I understand that there are many video rental outlets which still stock and rent this particular movie.

The stockade, which was used in the movie, was actually a small building that had been constructed within the tennis court. The film crew added some barbed wire on top of the chain link fence which was around the tennis court to give the stockade additional realism. The film crew also constructed a small balcony on the second floor of one of the barracks – right hand side of the photo. This location was supposed to be the Commander’s office. There probably were other changes to the base which were constructed specifically for the movie. We have only been able to obtain one photo which specifically identifies a change to the base. The Motor Pool has been Americanized with terminology and vehicle identification.

Additional photos taken at Kamloops during the filming of Cadence.


Title of Video:FCO Reunion – 1996
Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Release Date: 1996
Format: Color
Selling Price: $24.95 (includes GST and S&H)

Our Description: The first “Fighter Control Operator” reunion was held in Red Deer, Alberta at the Royal Canadian Legion and ran from Friday, August 30th to Sunday, September 1st, 1996.

This film has some black and white World War II footage interspersed at the beginning of the video for effect. It starts with new arrivals checking into the “Station Orderly Room” where they are officially welcomed and provided with name tags. We are given the opportunity to look at many of the attendees as they wander around greeting old friends, and sharing many nostalgic tales. Friday evening progresses with the start of “group session photo” by location, coupled with a dance.

Saturday proves to be a long day with the bus tours, and a buffet dinner and dance in the evening – and yes, those “group session photo” continued well into the second day. Presentations were made to a number of key volunteers, and a some of the attendees were interviewed throughout the evening. One of those interviewed was Pete Garland, author of the book called Permanent Echoes.

Sunday provided a brunch, some additional interviews, and the start of the good byes. If you want to see your FtrCop friends from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, then the FCO Reunion -1996 video is just what you need for those long winter nights. Copies can be obtained as follows:


Sundance Productions
4421-35th Avenue,
Red Deer, AB,
T4N 2S1Telephone: 1(800)732-8305
Fax: (403)346-7572
Internet e-mail: SUNDANCE@CNNET.COM

We are advised that videos for the upcoming 2nd International Fighter Control Operator Reunion, to be held in Lethbridge, Alberta, August 28th, 29th and 30th, 1998 will sell for the same $24.95. You should allow six to eight weeks for delivery – after the reunion, to allow for custom editing and final approvals. 

Title of Video:Tracking Distance
Running Time: 30 minutes minutes
Release Date: 1997
Format: Color
Selling Price: $29.99 (includes shipping and handling)

Brief Description: A half-hour documentary video, Greg Marshall, Big Muddy Films, Banff Centre for the Arts co-production, 1997, available on VHS.

Tracking Distance explores the remnants of Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Dana, as interpreted by ten individuals who lived and worked there. CFS Dana operated as a NORAD Air Defence radar station, 72 kilometres east of Saskatoon. It was one of the forty-four stations in the Pinetree radar line that stretched across Canada. The station operated from 1962 to 1986 and now has all the markings of a ghost town. The video examines in hindsight notions of the Cold War and offers a nostalgic look at a great community that once flourished under contrived conditions.

Tracking Distance was first broadcast in November 1999, on the Sakatchewan Community Network (SCN).

Available for purchase. Please send cheque or money order payable to Greg Marshall. $29.99 (includes $4.00 shipping and handling)


Greg Marshall
76 Taylor Way S.E.,
Airdrie, Alberta
T4A 1S2Internet e-mail:








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