Scoutmaster Minutes for 11/27/2012 

Scout Master Minutes for 10/24/2012 

Paul Siple, a nineteen year-old Eagle Scout in Erie, Pennsylvania, was one of thousands who applied to join Admiral Byrd’s expedition in 1928.

Byrd asked the Boy Scouts of America to help him select one Scout to take on the year and a half exploration of Antarctica. Local committees vetted  applications and forwarded 88 to the national office. These 88 were winnowed down to six candidates who would meet with Byrd in New York City.

Paul Siple’s considerable accomplishments as a Scout and his extensive experience camping put him in the final six.

The candidates  submitted to  ten days of  rigorous testing and extensive interviews with various experts. The experts issued their  recommendations but Byrd  ingeniously settled the question of who would be selected for the expedition by asking the candidates themselves.

Aboard the sailing ship (The City of New York) that would take the expedition to the pole the six Scouts were asked to write the names of two of their fellow candidates they would like to go with them should three, instead of one, places become available.

Paul Siple was selected by five of his fellow Scouts. He was the obvious choice.

Siple distinguished himself in many ways as the expedition unfolded and became one of Byrd’s most trusted men. He was invited on subsequent expeditions with  Byrd and would ultimately go on to become one of the world’s preeminent polar scientists who developed the formula for the measurement of wind chill factor.

Here is Siple some thirty years later in an Army Signal Corps film relating his experiences and  how Scouting shaped his life as an adult. You can see the entire film here

Siple’s remarkable story deserves to be retold to our Scouts; here’s some resources that you may find useful

Scouting Milestones (an excellent online resource for Scouting history) features information about Siple’s achievements and experiences.

Siple published his diary of the expedition  in A Boy Scout With Byrd (1931) and went on to write Exploring at Home (1932), Scout to Explorer: Back with Byrd in the Antarctic (1936) and 90 Degrees South (1959). All are out of print but used editions are available from Amazon:
A Boy Scout With Byrd
Exploring at home
Scout to Explorer: Back with Byrd in the Antarctic
90 South (90 Degrees South) – The Story Of The American South Pole Conquest