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Richard E. Byrd
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Explorer
    (October 25, 1888-March 11, 1957)
    Born in Winchester, Virginia
    US Navy admiral, aviator and polar explorer
    Claimed to be the first person to fly to the North Pole (May 9, 1926)
    Headed five expeditions in Antarctica (1928-30,1933-35,1939-40,1946-47,1955-56)
    Received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Navy Cross
    Brother of US Senator Harry F. Byrd
    The 'E' stood for 'Evelyn.'
    He won the Medal of Honor for a non-combat achievement.
    A 1996 analysis of data in his diary strongly suggested that he never reached the North Pole, but instead turned back shortly after covering 3/4 of the distance when his plane developed an oil leak.
    He attempted to win the Ortieg Prize for the first non-stop flight between the US and France, but crashed during a practice take off.
    While his plane was being repaired, Charles Lindbergh beat him to the prize.
    He served as a US Navy pilot in World War I.
    During World War II, he surveyed remote islands in the Pacific for airfields, was cited for meritorious service, and was invited to the Japanese surrender ceremony.
    He headed five Antarctic expeditions without losing a man.
    While spending five months alone manning a meteorological station, he narrowly avoided death from carbon monoxide poisoning from a malfunctioning stove (1934).
    He was the first (and through 2009 only) individual honored by New York City with three ticker tape parades.

Credit: C. Fishel


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