- to train personnel and test material in the frigid zones
- to consolidate and extend American sovereignty over the largest practical area of the Antarctic continent
- to determine the feasibility of establishing and maintaining bases in the Antarctic and to investigate possible base sites
- to develop techniques for establishing and maintaining air bases on the ice, with particular attention to the later applicability of such techniques to operations in interior Greenland. (where, it was then believed, physical and climatic conditions resembled those in Antarctica)
- to amplify existing knowledge of hydrographic, geographic, geological, meteorological and electromagnetic conditions in the area.
Commanded by Captain George J. Dufek
- Seaplane Tender Pine Island
- Tanker Canisteo
- Destroyer Brownson
Commanded by Captain Charles A. Bond
- Seaplane Tender Currituck
- Tanker Cacapon
- Destroyer Henderson
- Comms-ship Mount Olympus
- Icebreaker Burton Island
- Icebreaker Northwind
- Supplyship Yancey
- Supplyship Merrick
- Submarine Sennet
Understandably the need for supply ships, seaplane tenders, ice breakers and communication ships are necessary for such an operation but the use of 2 destroyers, an aircraft carrier and a submarine is somewhat dubious if all they set out to do is carry out surveys.
Operation Highjump has become a topic among UFO conspiracy theorists, who claim it was a covert US military operation to conquer alleged secret underground Nazi facilities in Antarctica including Station 211 and capture the German Vril flying discs, or Thule mercury-powered spaceship prototypes.
Many conspiracy articles and discussions examine a postwar encounter reported near a British Antarctic camp with uniformed Germans in an ice cave; this when considered in the context that several German U boats, a large amount of building supplies and German scientists identified by Operation Paperclip were still unaccounted for added credibility to the possibility of a Nazi base; and the real motivation for the subsequent operation.
An esoteric Hitlerist legend recounts that Adolf Hitler did not commit suicide in 1945, but fled to Argentina, then to an SS base under the ice in New Swabia during the early 1950s where he resumed his career as a painter. According to this account, Operation Highjump, the largest expedition mounted to the Antarctic, is claimed to have been sent to wipe out the Nazi presence.
Operation Highjump remains one of the few post war operations with documents still "classified" by the military.