Operation Highjump – Page 2 of 4

by Ned Harris (USCS # 3608)

The Central Group reached the Bay of Whales on January 15, 1947 and established Little America IV, complete with three compacted snow runways. The aircraft carrier Philippine Sea carried six R4-D transport aircraft (Navy version of the DC-3) and Admiral Byrd to the edge of the ice pack. The R4-Ds successfully took off from the flight deck of the Philippine Sea using JATO bottles attached under their wings and reached Little America six hours later. Admiral Byrd flew in the lead aircraft. Extensive aerial mapping was then conducted by the R4-Ds flying from Little America including a two aircraft flight to the South Pole on Feb 15-16.


Crosby cover from the flagship of Task Force 68, U.S.S. Mount Olympus 



Cover carried aboard one of the R4-D aircraft from the USS Philippine Sea to Little America

Operations for the Eastern Group commenced in late December 1946 in the vicinity of Peter I island, north of the Bellingshausen Sea. Brownson took up her position as a weather station and flight operations commenced. The following day one of the Martin Mariner flying boats crashed on Thurston Island during a whiteout, killing three occupants of the aircraft. It was not until 13 days later that the six survivors of the crash, including the commander of the Pine Island, were rescued.

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