Admiral Byrd, Richard Evelyn

Details


Date of birth
25 Oct 1888
Date of death
11 Mar 1957
Gender
Male
Nationality
American
Biography
Richard Evelyn Byrd was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour for his Antarctic exploits. He born into a famous Virginia family in 1888. He entered the United States Naval Academy at the age of 20 and was commissioned in 1912. His passion for the airplane began during World War I when he learned to fly. Subsequently Byrd became a flying instructor for the US Navy. Significant credit must be given Byrd for the present American interest in the south polar regions. His success as a naval aviator and transatlantic flier, along with the North Pole flyover, instilled enough confidence in the public to make them financially assist in the support of his first two Antarctic expeditions. From Byrd's first expedition in 1928-30 until 1955, eleven expeditions, excluding the Wilkins-Hearst Expedition, left the United States for Antarctica. Byrd was a conspicuous player in six of them with four being sponsored by the United States government. His successful polar flights undoubtedly were due to his pioneering experimentation during World War I of flying over water out of sight of land. Navigation of these early seaplanes without visual landmarks as an aid prompted him to experiment with a number of scientific instruments ranging from drift indicators to bubble sextants. His reputation from this work was responsible for an appointment by the United States Navy to plan the flight navigation for the transatlantic flight in 1919 of the US Navy Flying Boats NC1, NC3, and NC4. The NC4 was the first plane to succeed in crossing the Atlantic, via Newfoundland and the Azores, having done so in May 1919. In 1926 he and Floyd Bennett made the first flight over the North Pole and upon their return to New York,

Byrd Antarctic Expedition I
1928-1930
The Byrd Expedition was the first American expedition to explore Antarctica since the U. S. Exploring Expedition under Charles Wilkes in 1840. The expedition launched a revival of interest in the Antarctic for Americans, an area much in the public mind during the early 1800's.
The exploring expedition organized by Richard E. Byrd in 1928 may be considered the first of the mechanical age of exploration in Antarctica. The program was the first of its kind to utilize the airplane, aerial camera, snowmobile and massive communications resources. Although Sir Hubert Wilkins, on November 6, 1928, was the first to fly an airplane in Antarctica, he preceded Byrd by only ten weeks. (Byrd first flew on January 15, 1929). However, Byrd's flights, made with three planes (Ford monoplane, Fokker Universal and a Fairchild monoplane), were much more significant than Wilkins since they were made in higher latitudes and were tied in with ground surveys. Five radio engineers were assigned to the communications team
Many questions were left unanswered upon conclusion of Byrd's first Antarctic expedition and the Admiral was all too aware of the necessity for a quick return to the ice. Plans were soon made for a second expedition as many of the experienced men would still be available and polar interest in America was thriving.
A number of "firsts" were accomplished during the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition; it was the first time that automotive transportation proved to be a valuable asset. Results from the first seismic investigations in Antarctica provided the initial evidence of the extent to which the Ross Ice Shelf was aground or afloat. The first human voices were transmitted from Little America on February 1, 1934 and later a weekly broadcast was carried over the Columbia Broadcasting System in the United States. Additionally, this expedition marked the first time that cosmic ray and meteor observations were taken in such high southern latitudes. Although the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition was the beginning of the mechanical age in Antarctica, the Second Expedition took mechanical and electrical resources to a new level. As with the first, the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition was organized and financed by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd (USN, retired) with financial aid and supplies contributed by a number of private individuals, businesses, industrial firms, research institutes and government agencies. Byrd's original plans called for a departure in the fall of 1932, however lack of necessary funding and supplies required them to wait until the following year.
Of all the men involved with Byrd II, 18 had participated in the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition. There were four primary objectives concerning geographical exploration: the delineation of as much as possible of the coastline of Marie Byrd Land; additional research in the Ford Ranges; determination of an ice-filled strait connecting the Ross Sea with the Weddell Sea; determination of the extent of the Queen Maud Mountains beyond the Ross Ice Shelf. Meteorological observation was also an important part of the expedition with Byrd proposing the construction of a weather station as far inland as possible which would be maintained throughout the long winter night. The scientific program included proposals to measure the thickness of the Ross Ice Shelf and polar plateau, extensive biological investigation ranging from plankton to the seals in the Bay of Whales and surveying of the front of the Ross Ice Shelf to determine what changes had transpired since the last survey made by the Terra Nova Expedition in 1911. Admiral Byrd led a landing party to the site of Little America I on January 17 where they found the camp buried under a deep blanket of snow with only the radio towers, stove pipes and a few other protruding objects visible. The communication and lighting systems were still functioning and the stored food was still in preserved condition. Through great difficulties, the old camp was reestablished as Little America II. Tractors, sledges and aviation were all used as the men struggled to establish the base. The Pilgrim monoplane made three flights but the Fokker, Blue Blade, crashed on take-off and the weather closed in before the William Horlick could be made ready. Work on the site was under horrible conditions as temperatures plummeted to -60°F. Although aware of water condensing and freezing in the ventilator pipe, stovepipe and exhaust pipe of the engine which drove the radio generator, Byrd's precautions failed to maintain proper ventilation within the hut and he gradually became more ill until finally collapsing during the radio schedule on May 31. He remained critically ill for more than a month as his recovery was impaired by the inability to keep himself warm and properly cared for. In spite of his weakness and subsequent relapses, meteorological observations were continually recorded. A number of geological and biological scientific programs were accomplished during the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. Extensive additional scientific programs were conducted by other members of the base camp party.
Byrd Antarctic Expedition III
The United States Antarctic Service Expedition 1939-41
Although a US Government sponsored expedition, additional support came from donations and gifts by private citizens, corporations and institutions. Although the Department of Interior was granted funding, it was woefully inadequate for an expedition of this size.
A total of 125 men departed from the United States in the two ships of the United States Antarctic Service Expedition, or Byrd III. Most of the men who made up the expedition were solicited from the military ranks, civilian agencies of government and from scientific institutions. A few volunteers were employed by the Department of the Interior for $10 per month, food and clothing included. A total of 59 men, divided initially into three groups, wintered over in Antarctica. The objectives of the United States Antarctic Service Expedition were outlined in an order from President Roosevelt dated November 25, 1939. This order was received by Admiral Byrd at Balboa, Canal Zone, as he boarded the North Star on November 30. The President wanted two bases to be established: East Base, in the vicinity of Charcot Island or Alexander I Land, or on Marguerite Bay if no accessible site could be found on either of the specified islands, and West Base, in the vicinity of King Edward VII Land, but if this proved impossible, a site on the Bay of Whales at or near Little America was to be investigated. In view of the broad scope of the objectives and the unpredictable circumstances that always arise in Antarctica, it is remarkable that most of the objectives set for them were met. Of significance was the establishment and occupation for a year of two separate bases 1600 miles apart by air and 2200 miles by sea. Flights by seaplane from the Bear and by land based airplanes from Little America III resulted in approximately 700 miles of coastline being added to the map of Antarctica. These discoveries included the Hobbs Coast, the Walgreen Coast, the Thurston Peninsula (determined to be an island in 1960) and the Eights Coast. Reconnaissance flights revealed previously unknown parts of the Ross Ice Shelf. Gaps in the unexplored regions between the Beardmore and Liv Glaciers in the Queen Maud Mountains were also filled in. Richard E. Byrd's story doesn't end here. Byrd was actively involved in Operation High Jump and Deep Freeze. Admiral Byrd literally worked all his adult life for personal, national and international interests in Antarctica. In his final years, his role was unfortunately downplayed by the Navy which only contributed to his failing health and eventual death.
Richard Evelyn Byrd was born into a famous Virginia family in 1888. He entered the United States Naval Academy at the age of 20 and was commissioned in 1912. His passion for the airplane began during World War I when he learned to fly. Subsequently Byrd became a flying instructor for the US Navy. Significant credit must be given Byrd for the present American interest in the south polar regions. His success as a naval aviator and transatlantic flier, along with the North Pole flyover, instilled enough confidence in the public to make them financially assist in the support of his first two Antarctic expeditions. From Byrd's first expedition in 1928-30 until 1955, eleven expeditions, excluding the Wilkins-Hearst Expedition, left the United States for Antarctica. Byrd was a conspicuous player in six of them with four being sponsored by the United States government. His successful polar flights undoubtedly were due to his pioneering experimentation during World War I of flying over water out of sight of land. Navigation of these early seaplanes without visual landmarks as an aid prompted him to experiment with a number of scientific instruments ranging from drift indicators to bubble sextants. His reputation from this work was responsible for an appointment by the United States Navy to plan the flight navigation for the transatlantic flight in 1919 of the US Navy Flying Boats NC1, NC3, and NC4. The NC4 was the first plane to succeed in crossing the Atlantic, via Newfoundland and the Azores, having done so in May 1919. In 1926 he and Floyd Bennett made the first flight over the North Pole and upon their return to New York,

Byrd Antarctic Expedition I
1928-1930
The Byrd Expedition was the first American expedition to explore Antarctica since the U. S. Exploring Expedition under Charles Wilkes in 1840. The expedition launched a revival of interest in the Antarctic for Americans, an area much in the public mind during the early 1800's.
The exploring expedition organized by Richard E. Byrd in 1928 may be considered the first of the mechanical age of exploration in Antarctica. The program was the first of its kind to utilize the airplane, aerial camera, snowmobile and massive communications resources. Although Sir Hubert Wilkins, on November 6, 1928, was the first to fly an airplane in Antarctica, he preceded Byrd by only ten weeks. (Byrd first flew on January 15, 1929). However, Byrd's flights, made with three planes (Ford monoplane, Fokker Universal and a Fairchild monoplane), were much more significant than Wilkins since they were made in higher latitudes and were tied in with ground surveys. Five radio engineers were assigned to the communications team
Many questions were left unanswered upon conclusion of Byrd's first Antarctic expedition and the Admiral was all too aware of the necessity for a quick return to the ice. Plans were soon made for a second expedition as many of the experienced men would still be available and polar interest in America was thriving.
A number of "firsts" were accomplished during the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition; it was the first time that automotive transportation proved to be a valuable asset. Results from the first seismic investigations in Antarctica provided the initial evidence of the extent to which the Ross Ice Shelf was aground or afloat. The first human voices were transmitted from Little America on February 1, 1934 and later a weekly broadcast was carried over the Columbia Broadcasting System in the United States. Additionally, this expedition marked the first time that cosmic ray and meteor observations were taken in such high southern latitudes. Although the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition was the beginning of the mechanical age in Antarctica, the Second Expedition took mechanical and electrical resources to a new level. As with the first, the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition was organized and financed by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd (USN, retired) with financial aid and supplies contributed by a number of private individuals, businesses, industrial firms, research institutes and government agencies. Byrd's original plans called for a departure in the fall of 1932, however lack of necessary funding and supplies required them to wait until the following year.
Of all the men involved with Byrd II, 18 had participated in the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition. There were four primary objectives concerning geographical exploration: the delineation of as much as possible of the coastline of Marie Byrd Land; additional research in the Ford Ranges; determination of an ice-filled strait connecting the Ross Sea with the Weddell Sea; determination of the extent of the Queen Maud Mountains beyond the Ross Ice Shelf. Meteorological observation was also an important part of the expedition with Byrd proposing the construction of a weather station as far inland as possible which would be maintained throughout the long winter night. The scientific program included proposals to measure the thickness of the Ross Ice Shelf and polar plateau, extensive biological investigation ranging from plankton to the seals in the Bay of Whales and surveying of the front of the Ross Ice Shelf to determine what changes had transpired since the last survey made by the Terra Nova Expedition in 1911. Admiral Byrd led a landing party to the site of Little America I on January 17 where they found the camp buried under a deep blanket of snow with only the radio towers, stove pipes and a few other protruding objects visible. The communication and lighting systems were still functioning and the stored food was still in preserved condition. Through great difficulties, the old camp was reestablished as Little America II. Tractors, sledges and aviation were all used as the men struggled to establish the base. The Pilgrim monoplane made three flights but the Fokker, Blue Blade, crashed on take-off and the weather closed in before the William Horlick could be made ready. Work on the site was under horrible conditions as temperatures plummeted to -60°F. Although aware of water condensing and freezing in the ventilator pipe, stovepipe and exhaust pipe of the engine which drove the radio generator, Byrd's precautions failed to maintain proper ventilation within the hut and he gradually became more ill until finally collapsing during the radio schedule on May 31. He remained critically ill for more than a month as his recovery was impaired by the inability to keep himself warm and properly cared for. In spite of his weakness and subsequent relapses, meteorological observations were continually recorded. A number of geological and biological scientific programs were accomplished during the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. Extensive additional scientific programs were conducted by other members of the base camp party.
Byrd Antarctic Expedition III
The United States Antarctic Service Expedition 1939-41
Although a US Government sponsored expedition, additional support came from donations and gifts by private citizens, corporations and institutions. Although the Department of Interior was granted funding, it was woefully inadequate for an expedition of this size.
A total of 125 men departed from the United States in the two ships of the United States Antarctic Service Expedition, or Byrd III. Most of the men who made up the expedition were solicited from the military ranks, civilian agencies of government and from scientific institutions. A few volunteers were employed by the Department of the Interior for $10 per month, food and clothing included. A total of 59 men, divided initially into three groups, wintered over in Antarctica. The objectives of the United States Antarctic Service Expedition were outlined in an order from President Roosevelt dated November 25, 1939. This order was received by Admiral Byrd at Balboa, Canal Zone, as he boarded the North Star on November 30. The President wanted two bases to be established: East Base, in the vicinity of Charcot Island or Alexander I Land, or on Marguerite Bay if no accessible site could be found on either of the specified islands, and West Base, in the vicinity of King Edward VII Land, but if this proved impossible, a site on the Bay of Whales at or near Little America was to be investigated. In view of the broad scope of the objectives and the unpredictable circumstances that always arise in Antarctica, it is remarkable that most of the objectives set for them were met. Of significance was the establishment and occupation for a year of two separate bases 1600 miles apart by air and 2200 miles by sea. Flights by seaplane from the Bear and by land based airplanes from Little America III resulted in approximately 700 miles of coastline being added to the map of Antarctica. These discoveries included the Hobbs Coast, the Walgreen Coast, the Thurston Peninsula (determined to be an island in 1960) and the Eights Coast. Reconnaissance flights revealed previously unknown parts of the Ross Ice Shelf. Gaps in the unexplored regions between the Beardmore and Liv Glaciers in the Queen Maud Mountains were also filled in. Richard E. Byrd's story doesn't end here. Byrd was actively involved in Operation High Jump and Deep Freeze. Admiral Byrd literally worked all his adult life for personal, national and international interests in Antarctica. In his final years, his role was unfortunately downplayed by the Navy which only contributed to his failing health and eventual death.
Richard Evelyn Byrd was born into a famous Virginia family in 1888. He entered the United States Naval Academy at the age of 20 and was commissioned in 1912. His passion for the airplane began during World War I when he learned to fly. Subsequently Byrd became a flying instructor for the US Navy. Significant credit must be given Byrd for the present American interest in the south polar regions. His success as a naval aviator and transatlantic flier, along with the North Pole flyover, instilled enough confidence in the public to make them financially assist in the support of his first two Antarctic expeditions. From Byrd's first expedition in 1928-30 until 1955, eleven expeditions, excluding the Wilkins-Hearst Expedition, left the United States for Antarctica. Byrd was a conspicuous player in six of them with four being sponsored by the United States government. His successful polar flights undoubtedly were due to his pioneering experimentation during World War I of flying over water out of sight of land. Navigation of these early seaplanes without visual landmarks as an aid prompted him to experiment with a number of scientific instruments ranging from drift indicators to bubble sextants. His reputation from this work was responsible for an appointment by the United States Navy to plan the flight navigation for the transatlantic flight in 1919 of the US Navy Flying Boats NC1, NC3, and NC4. The NC4 was the first plane to succeed in crossing the Atlantic, via Newfoundland and the Azores, having done so in May 1919. In 1926 he and Floyd Bennett made the first flight over the North Pole and upon their return to New York,

Byrd Antarctic Expedition I
1928-1930
The Byrd Expedition was the first American expedition to explore Antarctica since the U. S. Exploring Expedition under Charles Wilkes in 1840. The expedition launched a revival of interest in the Antarctic for Americans, an area much in the public mind during the early 1800's.
The exploring expedition organized by Richard E. Byrd in 1928 may be considered the first of the mechanical age of exploration in Antarctica. The program was the first of its kind to utilize the airplane, aerial camera, snowmobile and massive communications resources. Although Sir Hubert Wilkins, on November 6, 1928, was the first to fly an airplane in Antarctica, he preceded Byrd by only ten weeks. (Byrd first flew on January 15, 1929). However, Byrd's flights, made with three planes (Ford monoplane, Fokker Universal and a Fairchild monoplane), were much more significant than Wilkins since they were made in higher latitudes and were tied in with ground surveys. Five radio engineers were assigned to the communications team
Many questions were left unanswered upon conclusion of Byrd's first Antarctic expedition and the Admiral was all too aware of the necessity for a quick return to the ice. Plans were soon made for a second expedition as many of the experienced men would still be available and polar interest in America was thriving.
A number of "firsts" were accomplished during the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition; it was the first time that automotive transportation proved to be a valuable asset. Results from the first seismic investigations in Antarctica provided the initial evidence of the extent to which the Ross Ice Shelf was aground or afloat. The first human voices were transmitted from Little America on February 1, 1934 and later a weekly broadcast was carried over the Columbia Broadcasting System in the United States. Additionally, this expedition marked the first time that cosmic ray and meteor observations were taken in such high southern latitudes. Although the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition was the beginning of the mechanical age in Antarctica, the Second Expedition took mechanical and electrical resources to a new level. As with the first, the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition was organized and financed by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd (USN, retired) with financial aid and supplies contributed by a number of private individuals, businesses, industrial firms, research institutes and government agencies. Byrd's original plans called for a departure in the fall of 1932, however lack of necessary funding and supplies required them to wait until the following year.
Of all the men involved with Byrd II, 18 had participated in the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition. There were four primary objectives concerning geographical exploration: the delineation of as much as possible of the coastline of Marie Byrd Land; additional research in the Ford Ranges; determination of an ice-filled strait connecting the Ross Sea with the Weddell Sea; determination of the extent of the Queen Maud Mountains beyond the Ross Ice Shelf. Meteorological observation was also an important part of the expedition with Byrd proposing the construction of a weather station as far inland as possible which would be maintained throughout the long winter night. The scientific program included proposals to measure the thickness of the Ross Ice Shelf and polar plateau, extensive biological investigation ranging from plankton to the seals in the Bay of Whales and surveying of the front of the Ross Ice Shelf to determine what changes had transpired since the last survey made by the Terra Nova Expedition in 1911. Admiral Byrd led a landing party to the site of Little America I on January 17 where they found the camp buried under a deep blanket of snow with only the radio towers, stove pipes and a few other protruding objects visible. The communication and lighting systems were still functioning and the stored food was still in preserved condition. Through great difficulties, the old camp was reestablished as Little America II. Tractors, sledges and aviation were all used as the men struggled to establish the base. The Pilgrim monoplane made three flights but the Fokker, Blue Blade, crashed on take-off and the weather closed in before the William Horlick could be made ready. Work on the site was under horrible conditions as temperatures plummeted to -60°F. Although aware of water condensing and freezing in the ventilator pipe, stovepipe and exhaust pipe of the engine which drove the radio generator, Byrd's precautions failed to maintain proper ventilation within the hut and he gradually became more ill until finally collapsing during the radio schedule on May 31. He remained critically ill for more than a month as his recovery was impaired by the inability to keep himself warm and properly cared for. In spite of his weakness and subsequent relapses, meteorological observations were continually recorded. A number of geological and biological scientific programs were accomplished during the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. Extensive additional scientific programs were conducted by other members of the base camp party.
Byrd Antarctic Expedition III
The United States Antarctic Service Expedition 1939-41
Although a US Government sponsored expedition, additional support came from donations and gifts by private citizens, corporations and institutions. Although the Department of Interior was granted funding, it was woefully inadequate for an expedition of this size.
A total of 125 men departed from the United States in the two ships of the United States Antarctic Service Expedition, or Byrd III. Most of the men who made up the expedition were solicited from the military ranks, civilian agencies of government and from scientific institutions. A few volunteers were employed by the Department of the Interior for $10 per month, food and clothing included. A total of 59 men, divided initially into three groups, wintered over in Antarctica. The objectives of the United States Antarctic Service Expedition were outlined in an order from President Roosevelt dated November 25, 1939. This order was received by Admiral Byrd at Balboa, Canal Zone, as he boarded the North Star on November 30. The President wanted two bases to be established: East Base, in the vicinity of Charcot Island or Alexander I Land, or on Marguerite Bay if no accessible site could be found on either of the specified islands, and West Base, in the vicinity of King Edward VII Land, but if this proved impossible, a site on the Bay of Whales at or near Little America was to be investigated. In view of the broad scope of the objectives and the unpredictable circumstances that always arise in Antarctica, it is remarkable that most of the objectives set for them were met. Of significance was the establishment and occupation for a year of two separate bases 1600 miles apart by air and 2200 miles by sea. Flights by seaplane from the Bear and by land based airplanes from Little America III resulted in approximately 700 miles of coastline being added to the map of Antarctica. These discoveries included the Hobbs Coast, the Walgreen Coast, the Thurston Peninsula (determined to be an island in 1960) and the Eights Coast. Reconnaissance flights revealed previously unknown parts of the Ross Ice Shelf. Gaps in the unexplored regions between the Beardmore and Liv Glaciers in the Queen Maud Mountains were also filled in. Richard E. Byrd's story doesn't end here. Byrd was actively involved in Operation High Jump and Deep Freeze. Admiral Byrd literally worked all his adult life for personal, national and international interests in Antarctica. In his final years, his role was unfortunately downplayed by the Navy which only contributed to his failing health and eventual death.

Share

Associated with this person