A year after World War II ended, the U.S. Navy mounted a massive-though hastily planned-mission to the bottom of the world.
- By Paul Hoversten
- Air & Space magazine, July 2007
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Belanger: Well, there [also] are bodies from Operation Deep Freeze, and there’s been no attempt to get them either. In Deep Freeze 1, there were two [deaths]. One was on a tractor that went through the ice right when they got there in January 1956. Later, another tractor went down in a crevasse and its driver was crushed. There were maybe four [deaths] in Deep Freeze 2 or 3. And they’re still happening. It’s still a dangerous place. Where that Highjump crash was sounded to me to be in a pretty tough place. When some of them were rescued, they were asked to walk the nine or 10 miles to shore because no airplane could land there to pick them up. They called it “the Phantom Coast” because you could never find it.
A & S: How did Highjump help lay the foundation for further U.S. exploration of the continent?
Belanger: It was the beginning of photo mapping there, and it helped people learn about the continent. When the IGY scientists, who of course were sitting in conference halls in Europe, were planning where to put stations in Antarctica during the IGY, they used what the Highjump people had learned to help them make decisions. For example, there was a discovery over in east Antarctica of an ice-free area that was bedrock and had water pockets. That guided the building of stations there. It carries the name Bunger Hills, after the Highjump pilot who first flew over it.