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Eugene Rodgers on: Byrd's Drinking Habits
Eugene Rodgers Q: What's the significance of Byrd's drinking and what effect do you think it had on his ability to get the job done?

ER: Byrd liked to drink. He often apologized to his wife, Marie, through letters, which is how I knew about it, about drinking too much. At Antarctica he drank on the way down. There was a birthday party for him on the ship on the way down, and he got drunk. At Little America he and the rest of the men drank laboratory alcohol which is 200 proof. They had to water it down, but it was still potent stuff. And they all got drunk, Byrd included. This happened frequently. However, I don't see Byrd ever getting so drunk that he couldn't do, that he couldn't perform his mission. He got drunk at parties. I don't think he drank alone. He drank too much. He drank at inappropriate times. He'd drink on flights, but not where he was actually doing anything, where he was essentially a passenger. So there's some question about whether Byrd could be regarded as an alcoholic or not. He had problems with drink but I'll leave that diagnosis to somebody else.

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