from New York National Guard
10/16/2012 - STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCOTIA , N.Y. (AFNS) -- The
New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing kicks off its annual
support for the National Science Foundation in Antarctica as
ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules aircraft head for Antarctica Oct. 16 and
These aircraft will support the National Science Foundation's research
in the Antarctic, running supplies and people to field camps across the
continent and the South Pole station.
Two aircraft will depart on the five-day, 11,000-mile trip to Antarctica
each day. A total of six ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft will be on the
ice from October to February. About 120 members of the New York Air
National Guard will be deployed to Antarctica throughout the support
season. The Airmen deploy for 30 to 60 days each, working two 12-hour
shifts to cover 24-hour operations, six days each week. They work a
The ski-equipped LC-130s operated by the 109th AW are the only aircraft
in the U.S. military capable of landing on snow and ice, according to
officials. This is the 24th year that the 109th will support operations
Based at the United States Antarctic Program based at McMurdo Station,
the 109th AW is slated fly more than 350 missions across the continent,
with more than half of those moving passengers, cargo and fuel to the
South Pole, officials said. The majority of supplies that reach the
United States Amundsen-Scott Base at the South Pole are ferried there by
the 109th AW.
Despite the cold, the maintenance crews normally attain a high
reliability rate for each aircraft, allowing the flight crews to carry
as much cargo as possible to remote Antarctic outposts. The wing
accumulates roughly 3,000 hours of flying time in the 16-week season.
This is almost as much as most Air National Guard C-130 units fly in a
year, officials said.
All maintenance performed on the aircraft is done outside on the snow
and ice without the use of hangars. This requires maintainers to undergo
specialized training for both maintenance procedures and personal
extreme weather survival training.
U.S. military support for Operation Deep Freeze is a Pacific Command
responsibility organized as Joint Task Force -Support Forces Antarctica.
The Joint Task Force includes cargo and fuel tanker ships provided by
Military Sealift Command; active duty and Reserve C-17 Globemaster III
support from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings at Joint Base
Lewis-McChord, Wash.; the ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules flown by the
109th AW of the New York Air National Guard; and Coast Guard icebreakers
and the Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One to provide critical port
services at McMurdo Station.
The airlift part of Operation Deep Freeze operates from two primary
locations, with C-17s situated at Christchurch, New Zealand, and LC-130
Hercules forward based at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, beginning in late