The USS Bear is shown here at Norfolk Naval Shipyard loading up for Admiral Richard Byrd's third expedition to the southern polar region. Bear was an ex-19th century whaling ship that had been reconstructed for polar service. Even though this was Byrd's third trip to the southern polar region, it was the first under official U.S. Government sponsorship. With the sponsorship came access to the Norfolk Navy Yard. A photojournalist from the Norfolk Ledger-Star took these pictures and was particularly fond of the ninety Greenland Dogs and Canadian Eskimo Sled Dogs that Byrd's team brought with them. Read more about the other photos and artifacts of Byrd Expedition III that the museum recently received in our recent blog post.
|The bow ornament of USS Bear-Originally built in 1874 as a civilian whaler, the ship served in|
the Revenue Service, the Navy, and the Coast Guard until being decommissioned in 1944.
The ship in the background is the airship tender USS Patoka (AO-9).
|Men working aloft on USS Bear while at Norfolk Navy Yard. |
Even though the ship was made of wood, the hull was
built strong enough to resist ice flows from cracking the hull.
She is considered to be America's first icebreaker.
|Three more of Richardson's Eskimo Sled Dog puppy brigade that came along on the Expedition.|
Three Greenland Dogs on the deck of USS Bear. First used by the Inuit people for both hunting and
sled pulling, Greenland Dogs are considered to be among the oldest dog breed in the world.
|Eskimo Sled dogs take a snooze on the deck of USS Bear.|