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Lisle Rose on: The Conflict About Rescuing Byrd
Lisle Rose Q: Can you tell me about the conflict at advance base about rescuing him?

LR: There was a big conflict at Little America over going down to get Dick Byrd and there were two reasons for it. First there was the question of whether or not Byrd was really ill. And because he, in effect, wanted to, as long as he possibly could, prevent his distress from being known, there was that question. Gee, is he really in that bad of shape. The second question led naturally, flowed naturally from the first. It's terribly dangerous. We're going to have to go down there in the middle of the polar night to rescue this guy. The only light that there was was moonlight, which of course when it was shining was incredibly bright. It lit up the polar landscape almost so you could read a newspaper. But when the moonlight wasn't there, when the moon was down or when there was cloud cover and so on, it was tremendously risky to go through those heavily crevassed areas to get to advance base. And a lot of people said, in effect, look, Dick Byrd's a great guy and so on, but he put himself in this situation. And hate to be brutal but better one guy die than four or five of us trying to go out after him. Harold June felt this way and others felt this way. And when you read over the record, and there were some very, very bitter discussions in Little America about this, you can come down on either side of the equation. And this is what led Dick Byrd's sense I think of embarrassment and humiliation because he was as aware of this as anybody else.

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