Q: How is Byrd shaping up as a leader in the eyes of his men? Some people
loved him, some people hated him.
ER: As a leader, Byrd was greatly admired by the lesser ranking men on his
expedition. His expedition was a democratic one. They weren't officers and
men -- they were just plain men. But the people who would have been enlisted men
on other expeditions. The people who did the roustabout work -- who did the
labor and so forth -- tended to really admire Byrd and to love him as a leader.
However, Byrd's peers, the scientists, the other professional men, tend to see
Byrd as another human being and a person who had his ambitions. So they
weren't in love with Byrd. In fact, Larry Gould by the end of the expedition,
Larry Gould was the chief scientist and the second in command. He was very
disappointed in Byrd, felt he'd been let down by Byrd. Berndt Balchen who was
the chief of the aviation part of the expedition and the pilot to the South
Pole, had no respect for Byrd. Felt he wasn't a good leader, wasn't really the
type of man Balchen thought should lead an Antarctic expedition. So there were
these two views of Byrd, the uncompromising love for Byrd by the lesser ranking
men and the more clear eyed view of Byrd, perhaps prejudiced by their own
ambitions, the views of the senior people.