Charles Lindbergh beat him to it, but Byrd and three companions flew the first transatlantic airmail from New York to France on 29 June 1927. This suggestion has been challenged by Dennis Rawlins, who adds that the sextant data in the long-unavailable original official typewritten report are all expressed to 1 second, a precision not possible on Navy sextants of 1926 and not the precision of the sextant data in Byrd's diary for 1925 or the 1926 flight, which was normal (half or quarter of a minute of arc). Rank and organization: Commander, United States Navy. A CBS radio station, KFZ, was set up on the base camp ship, the Bear of Oakland and The Adventures of Admiral Byrd program was short-waved to Buenos Aires, then relayed to New York. The project included extensive studies of geology, biology, meteorology, and exploration. [citation needed], Once again, Byrd named Floyd Bennett as his chief pilot, with Norwegian Bernt Balchen], Bert Acosta, and Lieutenant George Noville as other crewmembers. [8][9] While serving in this position, he was commended by Brigadier General Charles W. Abbot, the adjutant general of Rhode Island, for making great strides in improving the efficiency of the militia, and on April 25, 1928, was promoted to captain by act of the Rhode Island General Assembly in recognition of his flight to the North Pole in 1926. His next assignment was to the gunboat USS Dolphin, which also served as the yacht of the Secretary of the Navy. The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. (NSN: 0–7918), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition I, in that on November 28, 1929 he took off in his "Floyd Bennett" from the Expedition's base at Little America, Antarctica and, after a flight made under the most difficult conditions he reached the South Pole on November 29, 1929. AviatorWith further naval advancement unlikely, Byrd again left the service to become an independent aviation pioneer. As fate would have it, Byrd missed his train to take him to the airship on August 24, 1921. Admiral Byrd was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy. Byrd's short-wave relay broadcasts, from his second Antarctic expedition, established a new chapter of communication history. Richard Evelyn Byrd lived all of his adult life in Winchester, where he practiced law. Shortly thereafter, on December 14, 1916, he was assigned as the inspector and instructor for the Rhode Island Naval Militia in Providence, Rhode Island. Our Source: "Byrd Gets CBS Award." In this service Admiral Byrd exercised fine leadership in gaining the united effort of civilian, Army, and Navy experts. They had difficulty gaining enough altitude, and they had to dump empty gas tanks, as well as their emergency supplies, to achieve the altitude of the Polar Plateau, but they were ultimately successful.[32]. He was released from active duty on October 1, 1945. This assignment brought Byrd into contact with high-ranking officials and dignitaries, including then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt. But that didn’t deter Byrd. Unlike the 1926 flight, this expedition was honored with the gold medal of the American Geographical Society. John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Edsel Ford were the major backers of his Arctic and early Antarctic ventures. Byrd lost several friends in the accident, and was involved in the subsequent recovery operations and investigation. [41], As part of the multinational collaboration for the International Geophysical Year (IGY) 1957–58, Byrd commanded the U.S. Navy Operation Deep Freeze I in 1955–56, which established permanent Antarctic bases at McMurdo Sound, the Bay of Whales, and the South Pole. Byrd and Bennett were presented with Tiffany Cross versions of the Medal of Honor on March 5, 1927, at the White House by President Calvin Coolidge. The armada arrived in the Ross Sea on December 31, 1946, and made aerial explorations of an area half the size of the United States, recording 10 new mountain ranges. On December 8, 1954, Byrd appeared on the television show Longines Chronoscope. Archival research into his first Antarctic expedition has shown that Byrd lied about his personal roles in discoveries and about his aerial navigational achievements, that he battled an alcohol problem, that he fought almost overwhelming fear during his dangerous flights, and that he was suspicious to the point of paranoia. Byrd was one of only four American military officers in history entitled to wear a medal with his own image on it. Congress promoted Byrd to rear admiral, and on 21 June 1930 the commonwealth of Virginia awarded him a partially gilded sterling silver presentation sword. His claim to have reached the North Pole is disputed. Byrd then planned to make the first nonstop flight from the United States to Europe. His lecture tours were, however, never as profitable as he had anticipated. Tall, dignified, and somewhat austere, he was a skillful courtroom advocate. Arriving over France the next day, they were prevented from landing in Paris by cloud cover; they returned to the coast of Normandy and crash-landed near the beach at Ver-sur-Mer (known as Gold Beach during the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944) without fatalities on July 1, 1927. Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, a Department of Defense school located in Negishi (Yokohama, Japan) opened on September 20, 1948. [18] Balchen claimed that Bennett had confessed to him months after the flight that Byrd and he had not reached the pole. Byrd, along with pilot Bernt Balchen, co-pilot/radioman Harold June, and photographer Ashley McKinley, flew the Floyd Bennett to the South Pole and back in 18 hours, 41 minutes. Byrd retired from the navy in 1916 with the rank of ensign after he was declared physically unsuitable for promotion because of a fragile foot that he had broken several times. World RenownByrd became one of the most famous explorers of his generation. NRAS Squantum was commissioned on August 15, 1923, and is considered to have been the first air base in the Naval Reserve program.[14]. In all assignments his thoroughness, attention to detail, keen discernment, professional judgment and zeal produced highly successful results. Other recipients include Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen, and Charles Lindbergh. It was decided that only men who had not served overseas were be allowed on the mission. [50], Byrd was inducted into the International Air and Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air and Space Museum in 1968.[51]. 454, New York City, September 18, 1928. After flying some distance beyond this point he returned to his base at Little America. As a token of his gratitude, Byrd named geographic features in the Antarctic after his supporters. Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, United States Antarctic Service Expedition, Officer, Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, List of Medal of Honor recipients during peacetime, "Self-Isolated at the End of the World - Alone in the long Antarctic night, Adm. Richard E. Byrd endured the ultimate in social distancing",, "The Atlantic Challenge: Flight of the NC-4", "Squantum Twenty Years Old: Aviation site since 1911", "Byrd's Heroic 1926 Flight & Its Faked Last Leg", "The Polar Flap: Byrd's Flight Confirmed", "Concise chronology of approach to the poles", "Why We May Wait 20 Years for Ocean Airliners", "BYRD IS HONORED BY SANTO DOMINGO; Explorer Gets Medal of the Order of Columbus at Ceremony at Republic's Embassy", "Valor awards for Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr",, "Admiral Byrd Dies at 68. [citation needed], On January 20, 1915, Richard married Marie Donaldson Ames (d. 1974). Richard Evelyn Byrd (25 October 1888–11 March 1957), aviator and recipient of the Medal of Honor, was born in Winchester, the son of Richard Evelyn Byrd (1860–1925) and Eleanor Bolling Flood Byrd. The long-range short-wave voice transmissions from Byrd's Antarctic expedition in 1934 was named an IEEE Milestone in 2001.[49]. 1929. 187. On July 14, 1912, he was assigned to the battleship USS Wyoming. Congress rewarded him with the Medal of Honor and a promotion to commander. Byrd was, however, able to make a valuable contribution, as his expertise in aerial navigation resulted in his appointment to plan the flight path of the mission. Within a few months, in March 1940, Byrd was recalled to active duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. When they returned Byrd announced that they had been the first to reach the North Pole by air. During service in the Caribbean Sea, Byrd received his first letter of commendation, and later a Silver Lifesaving Medal, for twice plunging fully clothed to the rescue of a sailor who had fallen overboard. Note - The dates on the table below are the year the award was received and not necessarily the year of the actions the award recognizes. They lived in Boston and had one son and three daughters. [6] While at the Naval Academy, he suffered two injuries to his right ankle (one was by playing football and the other was while dismounting gymnastic rings during a competition). As a result of his achievement, Byrd was promoted to the rank of rear admiral by a special act of Congress on December 21, 1929. He was raised (became a Master Mason) in Federal Lodge No. From 1942 to 1945 he joined the South Pacific Island Base Inspection Board, which had important missions to the Pacific, including surveys of remote islands for airfields. In spite of a short operating season, he established two Antarctic bases 1,500 miles apart, where valuable scientific and economic investigations are now being carried on. Byrd was one of several aviators who attempted to win the Orteig Prize in 1927 for making the first nonstop flight between the United States and France. Bennett served as his pilot in his flight to the North Pole the next year. In 1930, Byrd was awarded a gold medal by Kane Lodge.[45][46]. After the war Byrd played a key role in expanding the navy's aeronautical program, for which Congress promoted him to lieutenant commander. Rear Admiral Byrd did much toward the difficult task of organizing the expedition, which was accomplished in one fourth of the time generally necessary for such undertakings. On March 31, 1934, during a regularly scheduled broadcast, Admiral Byrd was awarded the CBS Medal for Distinguished Contribution to Radio. The name was changed to R.E. Although on the navy's permanently retired list, he returned to active duty for World War I and was promoted to lieutenant junior grade retroactive to his previous service.

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