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Richard Byrd. Portrait of Richard Evelyn Byrd (1888-1958), American polar explorer and aviation pioneer. Byrd commanded the naval flying unit attached to Donald MacMillan's expedition of Greenland in 1925. On 9 May 1926 Byrd and co- pilot Floyd Bennett possibly became the first people to fly over the North Pole, although their claim is controversial. In 1928 Byrd commanded his first mission to the Antarctic and, with three others, made the first flight over the South Pole in 1929. Byrd organised several further visits to Antarctica and explored vast areas of land; his discoveries included the Edsel Ford mountain range and Marie Byrd Land (named after his wife).
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