When the boisterous winds blow

Operation Highjump pt.1

David Garman

A life without opportunity, is there such a thing as this? No matter what our lot in life, there is always something to be made of it. Whether we accept an opportunity or let it pass is another thing.

The challenges we face, most often hide the spark of creativity. To effectively answer a challenge can lead to fulfillment, greater satisfaction, even contentment. There is an inherent glint of contribution, we offer in the victory a new way to approach.

To our missed fortune, it is all too common and evident in today’s mentality, that there must be complete safety at every turn in life. The lack of any risk, as we find our selves, seems to have softened us. We walk in mundane mediocrity. This can’t be all there is, we say within ourselves. Yet some of us want no peaks, no valleys.

Great thinkers of the past have expressed that the one who takes no risk neither has pain much nor pleasure much. Or that there are those who’s contribution to the world is worth no more than the pile of dung they leave behind, I believe it was Leonardo who penned that one.

To place this into the context of our calling, it was and is a risk. Exemplified by the account of Peter stepping overboard, eyes on Y’shua the Messiah, though he sank when he considered the boisterous wind. We know the wind and the waves. We speak and write and work, our eyes on Y’shua.

Let me share something with you who may happen to read this. As it appears at this point, a famous expedition taken in the mid twentieth century, may be a metaphor to us now as we move closer to the Day. I don’t know as yet. Said expedition carries a great deal of conjecture, conspiracy and intrigue swirling around it to this very present time. It went by the name of Operation Highjump, Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s fourth to the South Pole. It was a time when there was no guarantee of one’s safe return. The south pole was a great unknown.

There is further interest finding that we have a bit of a personal connection to this expedition. I remember many years ago that my Dad, Larry told of knowing a Catholic priest who went to the South Pole with Admiral Byrd. Things like that have a way of finding a wrinkle in one’s gray matter.

Not many weeks ago I happened to see an article on Byrd and Highjump. So to jog my memory, and perhaps I was mistaken, Dad did you once tell of a priest who went to the South Pole with Byrd? “Yes,” as he responded to my email, “the priest came to Corwith” (Iowa). Dad served mass with him, that he was the chaplain on Byrd’s South Pole expedition. Dad went on to say that the priest had written a book titled Strong Men South about his adventure.

We began a series of emails back and forth, where I learned more. “Dad and Mom,” my Dad added, “were invited to play cards with him and his house keeper several times.” “He went to near by communities and showed recordings of the expedition and some Catholic stuff, he took me along many times,” Dad wrote.

Immediately, a search was on to locate the book. Wm J Menster was the chaplain aboard the USS Mount Olympus. A copy with full description was located in Oregon. It was signed “With blessings, Wm J Menster” and was stamped with a mission stamp, great! It was well packaged and arrived in less than a week. The description indicated that the book appeared to be unread, after some search, a digital version was located at the University of Iowa.

The digital version will serve as my reader. So far it is a wonderful insight with many quotable lines. One of the primary responsibilities of Chaplain Lt Commander Menster was to aid good morale in the men during a dangerous yet awesome voyage. My intent is to continue on this line to see where it leads. It will be interesting to see how this study correlates with Admiral Byrd’s own writings. Perhaps there will be some discernment to the intrigue surrounding this expedition to the South Pole.

And perhaps the research will inspire us in some way to face the dangers in our future with all courage. Perhaps it will show what our forebearers found when the boisterous winds blow.

As the ships neared the antarctic Menster offers this: “Behind us was the memory of all we had ever done…”

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