Q: Byrd never issued a direct order to Little America to come rescue him or
he claims he didn't. Why didn't he? What do you think of Byrd's decision to
do that. He never said, come get me, very explicitly.|
JH: Well, Byrd didn't ask to be rescued in my opinion because it simply was
not in his character to even think of asking for his men to risk their lives to
rescue him. I just don't think he even thought of it, or never would.
Q: What were the dangers of a tractor trip to advance base in the winter
night. I mean how would they have to proceed in these conditions?
JH: In the winter night with the conditions existent over a trail that marked
with red trail frags about every 100 or 2 or 3 or 400 yards, some of which may
have been blown down or gone or disappeared, difficult to find at night,
although it isn't black night, it's starlight, they are hard to see. And then
the ever present danger of a crevasse giving way under your tractor and losing
it. The simple process of a tractor just plain refusing to run. And the crew
being stranded right there and having to wake, make their way back to camp at
night over that trail on foot, at temperatures ranging 65 to 70 below zero. It
was a very dangerous program.
Q: How would the tractors, the rescue team make their way out to advance
base? How did they?
JH: The tractors, any navigation at night, was simply from one trailer flag
to the other, trying to retrace a trail. Little orange flags that had been set
at the 100 yard, 200, 300, 400 yards apart, may have blown away, may have just
disappeared. So frequently somebody had to get down on the skis in front of
the tractor and travel along by hand and wave them on, and direct them. Other
times and this happened on the final trip out to get him with, we were able to
get with a spotlight up on the cab of a tractor, and spot the flags ahead with
a spotlight. It seemed to be pretty successful.
Q: Can you tell us the story of the three attempts made to rescue him?
JH: I know there were three attempts made to reach him. The first one as I
remember something went wrong with the tractor. The second one they had
trouble with the navigation, finding the way, and the third one they were able
to take it through.
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