Of polar bears and .45s
I don’t know a lot about USNRF LCDR Donald Baxter MacMillan’s Arctic Expedition of 1925 on the research schooner USS Bowdoin and Zenith founder Eugene F. McDonald’s donated steam yacht Peary, but it looked like fun.
As per original caption, “Chief Aerographer Francis and Mr. Gayer of the National Geographic Society demonstrating the effects of eating polar-bear steaks.”
According to the Navy, the expedition was co-opted with then-LCDR. Richard E. Byrd:
“This expedition was noted for the first productive use of aircraft in an Arctic exploration by Americans. The three aircraft [Liberty-powered Loening COA-1 Amphibians] were NA-1, NA-2, and NA-3.”
According to Raimund Goeler writing in the NYT, “The Navy lent three airplanes and eight officers, mechanics, and pilots–under Byrd’s command–to MacMillan, who was in charge of the expedition as a whole. In this way, the Navy could take credit, through Byrd, for any accomplishments in the air, while pleasing both men’s sponsors.”
As per original caption: “Mr. Geyer and Chief Aerographer Francis, apparently suffering from some horrible sickness and trying to tell the cameraman their troubles.”
If you are curious, here are some more pedestrian clips of six reels of NARA footage from the 1925 expedition. Donated by Byrd in 1938, along with films of his other polar expeditions.