Submitted by: Natalie Miller
Serving on Admiral Byrd's team for the Antarctic Expedition at the end of WW II was a privilege that only a handful of sailors would enjoy. Experience first hand, through the eyes of 19 year old Richard "Dick" Miller, the daily events aboard the S.S. Pine Island. The harsh conditions, the dangerous missions, the fun and friendships that occurred kept these men on their toes! Richard has had the original diary transcribed. After including accompanying memorabilia in the form of pictures, newspaper articles, etc., he published Operation Highjump: The diary of a young sailor.
Prior to Dick's formal account of the expedition via his diary, he had this to say:
"Before I start my account of the trip which will be in my own very simple language and the day by day details and perhaps thoughts that I experience. I think that I ought to give a slight picture of what has occurred previous to this undertaking.
My birthday, on November 15, 1945, found me 18 and also registering with my draft board. I decided that I would wait and be drafted with my buddy Bob Adam, January 16th, 1946. We both passed our army physicals. He went then but I decided to return home and get called the next month. After inquiring at the draft board I found that I would have to wait two months before being called. I volunteered to leave early and it was accepted. A few days before I was to leave, I sprained my ankle and was deferred. Well, that gave me time do some thinking (about time, too). After talking with Phil Phillipson and Bob Dibble, we decided to join the Navy. They passed their physical but I returned home because I have a cold at that time. I had to get the draft board to postpone sending the induction notice so I would have a chance to go to Albany again for my test. I left home March 3rd and was sworn in March 4th. March 5th we arrived at Bainbridge to start boot (camp).
I was sent to aerographer mates school (which I had never heard of) for a 16 wk course on weather. We had loads of fun there besides learning a lot (I managed to come out in the upper 5th. Out of the 75 of us that volunteered for the mission to the Antarctic, 16 of us were picked."
Thus began this rare account of the daily life out to sea and the exploration of the Antarctic!
Ric served in the US Navy, most notably the Operation Highjump Expedition. After the military, he went on to earn a Bachelor's, Master’s Degree in Math Education then a Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences. Ric has always been civic minded, giving freely to his community and beyond. He served the West Potsdam fire department for almost 40 years and in 2000, was honored as Fireman of the Year for St. Lawrence County in New York State. He's been an active member of the American Legion for years.
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