USS Canisteo (AO-99)
.A Young Man's Journey to the Antarctic
Way back when, in the spring of 1946, I was about to be drafted into the US Army. So, on the same day I graduated from high school I joined the US Navy. One week later I was on my way to Boot Camp in San Diego, California. Upon completion, I was sent on to Norfolk, Virginia where I received my orders to report for duty on the USS CANISTEO. This was about six months prior to Operation Highjump. There were a number of shipmates my age and I made good friends quickly.
While the ship was tied to the dock, I was the Duty Jeep Driver. When anchored in the bay, I was on the Captains Gig, taking ship's officers ashore. When we were underway, I was a Radar Operator (Striker). There were some things I did not like about the navy, but then I was just an 18 year-old kid, fresh out of high school who had never been away from home. However, the part I liked best in the navy was sea duty. I loved being out to sea! It was GREAT!!
I came from a home built on a foundation of love. My father was an ordained minister for the Episcopal Church. I have one brother who is two years older than me. My brother and I remain close to this day. My mother was a housewife and church volunteer. OPERATION HIGHJUMP was my first, last, and only big adventure in my life and I can look back on it with fond memories.
"We are now "laying to" . . .
At long last, postal history supplies answers to old questions . . .
and on Sunday, April 18th, they arrive in Trinidad . . .
In hopes of keeping these important stories alive . . .
A special message from Linda
All my life I grew up hearing stories of OPERATION HIGHJUMP. I began to "see" the Antarctic through my father's eyes. He was an entertaining storyteller. So many of his stories could not be transferred to his document due to space, time and the simple truth that some of them my father was too embarrassed to share! He was able to save a tremendous amount of his seaman's mail, many newspaper clippings from his hometown newspaper, a treasured photo album of the expedition (courtesy of the US Navy), as well as personal pictures taken throughout his "navy days". All of these items I do treasure as not only a piece of our nation's history, but as a tribute to my father and the many other young sailors who somewhat naively took part in this expedition. Certainly, I am proud that my father kept his stories alive for us and was willing to share them in this format.
It is my hope that future generations can learn of this great expedition and the men who took part in it. It is amazing and humbling to know that this expedition took place just as World War II had ended. Due to the great efforts of the Webmaster to maintain this site, the history and stories surrounding OPERATION HIGHJUMP can be preserved. Quite sadly, Admiral Byrd and OPERATION HIGHJUMP have barely, if at all, been mentioned in our children's history textbooks (Note: Linda is a schoolteacher).
Let us, the families of the men of OPERATION HIGHJUMP, work hard to preserve this almost forgotten piece of history.
FROM THE WEBMASTER: Linda is quite correct ... it is incumbent upon all of us to keep these stories and memories alive for all generations that follow! My sincere thanks and appreciation goes to John Morris and daughter Linda for sharing the material presented here. It saddens me to report the passing of Jack Morris on June 2, 2002.