The Hall of Holography Collection : People Everyone Should Know
Richard Evelyn Byrd
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autographed photo


Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr. (born October 25, 1888; died March 11, 1957) was a naval officer who specialized in feats of exploration. He was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Aircraft flights, in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau. In 1926 he claimed to have been the first to reach the North Pole by air, a claim disputed to this day.

Admiral Byrd began his first expedition to the South Pole in 1928, using two ships and three airplanes. On November 28, 1929 he launched his famous flight to the South Pole and back. Byrd, along with pilot Bernt Balchen, co-pilot/radioman Harold June, and photographer Ashley McKinley, flew a Ford Trimotor to the South Pole and back in 18 hours, 41 minutes. After a further summer of exploration, the expedition returned to North America on June 18, 1930.

Unlike Byrd's controversial flight to the North Pole in 1926, this South Pole expedition was honored with the gold medal of the American Geographical Society. By the time he died, he had amassed twenty-two citations and special commendations, nine of which were for bravery and two for extraordinary heroism in saving the lives of others.
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