US Secretary of State John Kerry visits McMurdo

Kelly Falkner introduces Secretary Kerry in 155
Kelly Falkner, NSF Polar Programs director, introduces Secretary Kerry in Building 155

John Kerry was the highest-ranking American diplomat to visit the ice. He flew into Christchurch on Wednesday 9 November 2016--interestingly as the American presidential election results were being tallied and reported. On Thursday he met with the NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully in the morning and spent time at the Antarctic Centre and CDC that afternoon. Here's a 7 November NSF press release about the trip, as well as a 9 November Christchurch Press article about Kerry's arrival.

Secretary Kerry meeting with Kelly Falkner and Art Brown
Secretary Kerry chats with NSF DPP director Kelly Falkner outside of the CDC as NSF representative Art Brown looks on.
Kerry Chuck explaining things to Secretary Kerry in the CDC lobby
New Zealand ASC/PAE contract manager explains things to Secretary Kerry in the lobby of the CDC.

Secretary Kerry heading for an LC-130On Friday 11 November, Kerry and his entourage of about 13 press and staff members boarded a C-17 for the flight to McMurdo (50 more entourage members were left behind in Christchurch). Upon arrival at McM, the schedule called for Secretary Kerry to immediately board an LC-130 for a flight to Pole (which he did, right)...but bad weather caused that flight to be cancelled (also disappointing some Polies who'd been sitting on that aircraft for awhile waiting for Kerry to arrive).

Instead, Secretary Kerry was given a helicopter tour of the Dry Valleys, visited other McM and Scott Base facilities and historic Ross Island huts, and spoke for about 40 minutes to a crowd of about 450 folks in the galley on Friday evening (above photo) before adjourning to a smaller gala reception in the Chalet. Below, two more photos of Secretary Kerry addressing the crowd (text of the speech).

Secretary Kerry addressing a group in Building 155
Secretary Kerry addressing a group in Building 155

Secretary Kerry flew back to Christchurch on Saturday 12 November (12 November Christchurch Press article), continuing almost immediately to Wellington where he met with Prime Minister John Key as well as Embassy staff. He departed Wellington only a few hours before the disastrous Kaikoura earthquake, heading to Oman en route to the United Nations Climate Change COP-22 in Marrakech, where he spoke.

Sources and's the State Department page with full details of Kerry's trip, a link to all of the official State Department photos including the ones I've used above, a 14 November commentary article from the Washington Post with a few more photos, and this 15 November Antarctic Sun article.