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Eugene Rodgers on: Byrd's Leadership Qualities
Eugene Rodgers 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.

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