Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. was born on October 25, 1888. He was an American naval officer and well-known explorer. He became the Read Admiral for his country’s navy.
Richard E. Byrd also received the highest honor that can be given to an American, which was the Medal of Honor.
He is also known for his time travelling to the North Pole and South Pole, his trips crossing the Atlantic Ocean and his discovery of Mount Sidley, which is the largest dormant volcano in the Antarctic.
Continue reading and discover all these amazing facts about Richard E. Byrd.
Richard E. Byrd Facts
1. He was a member of a famous family
The Byrds of Virginia were a famous American family who had roots that go back to England. They lived in Winchester, which was a small town near the Appalachian Mountains. Apparently, many people believe they were the descendants of Pocahontas and Captain Smith.
Richard Byrd Sr. was Richard E’s father, and he was a country lawyer and a politician. His mother, Eleanor Bolling Flood came from a prominent and wealthy political family as well.
When Richard was 14 years old, he was invited to a trip to the Philippines islands in the Pacific. These islands had been acquired from Spain by the North Americans.
It has been said that this is when Byrd fell in love with the sea, and where he discovered his sense of adventure. He wanted to travel to exotic lands and learn everything he could.
2. Richard E. Byrd’s education was truly important to him
Richard Byrd knew that he wanted to accomplish great things. After travelling to the Philippines, he decided to join the Navy and form his navy career.
Byrd studied at the Shenandoah Valley Military Academy, he then went on to the Virginia Military Institute and, finally, he also studied at the University of Virginia.
He graduated from the U.S Naval Academy, and even though he didn’t have the best grades, he was truly good at the physical exercises that he had to go through.
3. Richard E. Byrd’s expeditions started off immediately after he graduated
Back then, he was known as the Lieutenant Richard E. Byrd. Apparently, he travelled with Floyd Bennett and they were the first men to fly over the North Pole, on an expedition that occurred on May 9, 1926, an interesting fact about Richard Byrd.
Lately some historians have disputed whether or not they were the first men to accomplish this, but back then this expedition was universally accepted by all.
Byrd was also an intelligent man and he knew that he needed to raise money in order to be able to go on organized and complex expeditions. This is why he contacted wealthy investors to send him money, and, surprisingly, most investors accepted to be a part of his trips.
4. He became the first person to take an airplane to Antarctica.
Not only did Byrd take the plane but he also flew the plane all over Antarctica. Before Byrd’s expedition, Antarctica had been explored by the British and the Norwegians.
However, no one had ever flown around or over this place. In fact, people thought it was impossible to do so, and if they did, they would probably find dinosaurs or even lost tribes.
There were a lot of myths that surrounded this particular place, which made Byrd really excited, especially since considering all the possibilities of what he was going to find.
They took the unassembled plane to Antarctica and they were reassembled by Ross Ice Shelf. In addition, Byrd decided to set up a small town on the ice of Antarctica, and called it Little America. An interesting fact about Richard Byrd is that he also put some American flags up there, as he was really proud of his expedition.
They never landed in the South Pole, however, and instead, they flew all over what they thought was the South Pole. Byrd also became famous because he dropped some rocks from the grave of his friend Floyd Bennett, who had accompanied him to the North Pole Expedition.
5. Rychard E. Byrd’s personal life was as good as his professional life
In 1915, Byrd decided to marry Marie Donaldson Ames, and they had four children.
He had stated that he was really happy with his family life, and he felt complete. Even though he had an accident when he was in the U.S Naval Academy, in which he broke his ankle, he was still trying to recover from it in order to become more active in his daily life.
However, things weren’t looking good and he decided to retire in 1916. He quit his sea commands for the rest of his life, but, he later became active again as a retired officer.
6. Byrd became an aviator
Byrd learned to fly during his time at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, during World War I. He was immediately hooked to his new role.
He wanted to become the best pilot and he continuously practiced for a long time. He had found a new sense of adventure, as he was now able to mix his love for flying and his love for adventures and expeditions.
7. Byrd was an extremist in terms of what he wanted to achieve
And this is why Byrd decided to test his navigational equipment in very extreme climates. He ended up flying to Greenland in 1925, and as soon as he got there he decided to go north by using a sun compass, an interesting Richard Byrd fact.
He became famous internationally as he managed to complete a flight which was an aerial expedition to the North Pole and back in 16 hours, on May 9, 1926.
Richard E. Byrd died in 1957, and even though he was truly famous at one point of his life, things were rapidly changing in his country and everywhere else, so he wasn’t that well-known during his last years.
But Richard E. Byrd accomplished many things, and his legacy is now being studied again by many individuals from all over the world.
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