Happy Birthday, U.S. Navy!
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Happy Birthday, U.S. Navy!

The U.S. Navy has a long history in polar exploration.

As early as 1839, Captain Charles Wilkes led the first U.S. naval expedition into Antarctic waters. And in the early 1900s, Admiral Richard E. Byrd established an Antarctic naval base known as Little America I.

One of the most critical roles the U.S. Navy played in establishing Antarctica as an international space for research, was during Operation Deep Freeze I. The expedition from 1955 to 1956 prepared a permanent research station for the International Geophysical Year, in which 40 nations carried out research across the continent.

Today, we still value the relationship and history of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the U.S. Navy. Happy Birthday!

Photo Gallery

A jet with mountains in the background.
Photo Credit: Bruce Raymond
A US Navy P2V7 Neptune jet taken during the austral Summer 1960 – 1961.
Men walk on ice toward U.S. flag.
Photo Credit: Commander Jim Waldron
A U.S. Navy tradition upon establishing a landing strip in a remote field camp was to erect the U.S. flag. This photo was taken at Liv Glacier in 1957.
A group of men.
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy
The U.S. Navy built McMurdo Station (and 6 others) in support of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) 1957-58. The men pictured here lived in Building 3, known humorously as Beverly Hilton. This photo shows 20 of the 93 men who spent the first winter at McMurdo Station in 1956. Kneeling: Swartwood, Hisey, Hurd, Montgomery, McGrillis. Middle row: Hill, Nolen, Kemp, Woody, Roberts, Jeffus. Back row: Myers, Chaudoin, Wagner, Brown, Rigg, McCoy, Horner. The two men in the right rear are Nason and Whitmer. At the time this photo was taken McMurdo Station was named Williams Air Operating Facility.
Men construct a building.
Photo Credit: Dave Grisez
U.S. Navy Seabees erect a Clement's Hut at what would become known as McMurdo Station in January 1956. The prefabricated Clement's Hut snapped together quickly, enabling the construction battalion to build an entire town in a few weeks.