Interview of Stephen Riley by Raimund E. Goerler

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Title: Interview of Stephen Riley by Raimund E. Goerler
Creators: Riley, Stephen, 1929-
Contributors: Goerler, Raimund E. (Raimund Erhard), 1948-
Subjects (LCSH): Antarctica -- Social life and customs
Photography -- Antarctica -- Interviews
Antarctica -- Discovery and exploration -- Interviews
Issue Date: 2007-06-07
Publisher: Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program
Series/Report no.: Polar Oral History Program
Abstract: Mr. Stephen Riley entered the Navy in 1947, hoping to attend college on the G.I. Bill. He became interested in photography. After the Korean War started his tour was extended another year. This extension prevented him from returning to Rochester, N.Y. and obtaining a job at Eastman Kodak. In Korea, he specialized in aerial photography and mapping. In 1960, he became a navigator on the Navy’s photographic reconnaissance jets, sky warrior. He and four others were commissioned as officers in heavy photographic, Squadron 62. At the start of the Vietnam War, he was sent to Guam and joined the Photographic Squadron 61. They did aerial mapping of Laos and Vietnam. While at Guam, he received orders to go to Antarctica. The National Science Foundation had a higher priority for aerial photographers than Vietnam. He describes his first impressions of Antarctica and the extreme cold. The aerial mapping was done with a C-130 Hercules plane. For some of the mapping, they were based in Chile. He was impressed by the cooperation among the scientists from many countries. Mr. Riley stays in contact with colleagues through the Old Antarctica Explorers Association. A highlight of his Antarctic experience was the high rating of his photographs by the National Geodesic Group. The magnetic field in Antarctica played havoc with their magnetic navigation devices. He summarized the training of pilots and navigators to Arctic conditions. Communication with family often involved ham radio. Major Topics 1. Reasons for joining the Navy in 1947 and making it a career. 2. Mr. Riley specialized in aerial photography and became a Navy photo navigator. 3. After doing aerial mapping over South Vietnam, he was assigned to Antarctica. 4. Mr. Riley describes his experience of going from Guam to the first steps at McMurdo. 5. He was assigned as a photographer to the National Geodesic Survey of Antarctica. 6. During the three years, he used a trimetric set-up with the cameras. 7. Mt. Riley was named after him. 8. For some mapping, the base was in Chile. 9. He was impressed by the dedication among scientists of different countries. 10. As an early visitor to the Russian station at Vostok, he had a pleasant experience with the Russians. 11. The National Science Foundation took over the Antarctic Project from the Navy. 12. The Old Antarctic Explorers Association provides persons the opportunities to relive times in Antarctica. 13. Mr. Riley describes some highlights and some disappointments during his 3 years in Antarctica. 14. The problems of navigation with magnetic devices and of landing planes with the skies are discussed. 15. For Mr. Riley and others, the Antarctic experience usually leads to advancements in the profession. 16. Water for processing film was often in short supply. 17. The cameras were stored in special rooms, to prevent fogging. 18. The food was usually good and in the summer, fresh vegetables, fruit, and milk were flown in from New Zealand. 19. Ham radio was used to call home. “If you have never been to Antarctica and have the opportunity to go, don’t ever pass it up.”
Description: Key Individuals Mentioned 1. President Harry Truman p.1 2. William McDonald p.5 3. Jean Van Reef p.8 4. Commander Morris P.8 5. Dan Bailey p.8 6. Fred Schneider p.8 7. Lt. Brian Shoemaker p.8 8. Dr. Werner von Braun p.9 9. John Reimer p.16, 23 10. Ed Feeney p.19 11. Virgil Klein p.20 12. Pierre Gernan p.20 13. Barry Goldwater p.24
Other Identifiers: Record Group Number: 56.57
Rights: Restrictions: This item is not restricted.
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