Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Photos from the Byrd Expedition III....and a Penguin

"Few men during their lifetime comes anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them.  There are deep wells of strength that are never used." - Richard E. Byrd

Part of the Nusbaum collection
includes this stuffed Gentoo Penguin
that scientists captured during
Byrd Expedition III. 

The museum recently received a number of photographs from the family of Chief Mess Specialist Charles Nusbaum. Chief Nusbaum lived in Portsmouth, Virginia and served most of his naval service on ships operating out of Naval Operating Base Norfolk in the 1930s and 1940s. Nusbaum had the added distinction of being a member of two expeditions to the polar regions with the famed U.S. Navy explorer Admiral Richard Byrd. Nusbaum participated in Byrd's third expedition to Antarctica in 1939 and in Byrd's expedition to Greenland in 1941.
Nusbaum (sitting) and his fellow Navy
cook prepare their cleaving tools.

The third expedition to Antarctica was the first of Byrd's expeditions under U.S. Government sponsorship. The Government officially labelled the expedition the "U.S. Antarctic Service." The U.S. Government took an interest in establishing a more permanent presence in Antarctica. President Franklin Roosevelt ordered Byrd to explore the region in more detail and set up two additional stations near "Little America," the United States's lone outpost in the region. Byrd's long serving wooden hulled steam-powered bark USS Bear (AG-29) served as the expedition's flagship. The one time whaling ship had a reinforced hull for polar duty and had served in several expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

She sailed from Norfolk loaded with supplies and a twin-engine Barkely-Grow T8P1 airplane on board. Byrd flew the plane along the Antartic coastline to produce better maps of the region. The Seattle-based USMS North Star joined the expedition soon after Bear's arrival.

Here are some of the Antarctica expedition photos from the collection.

USS Bear in Antarctica, greeted by the locals. 
Sailors offload the Barkely-Grow T8P1 plane.  Byrd used the plane to
 map out several hundred miles of Antarctica coastline.
The 50-ton "Antarctica Snow Cruiser" off loads from the USMS North Star. With twin 150-hp engines and a 3,000 mile cruising range, the vehicle was a technical marvel. But it was practical bust. It sank in the snow shortly after off loading. It was discovered in the snow in 1958, only to be lost again. It is thought to be floating somewhere in the Southern Ocean.

"Little America," buried beneath the Antarctica snow, 1940.  Technically called Little America III (Byrd started
Little America I in 1929 six miles away),
the facility served as the main base for the expedition's missions. 

No comments: