109th Airlift Wing Air Guardsmen depart for Antarctica on Wednesday, October 18 to start science support

Media Advisory

Related Media

Master Sgt. Geoff Cerrone, a loadmaster assigned to the 139th Airlift Squadron, part of the 109th Airlift Wing, prepares a LC-130 Hercules for departure at McMurdo Station, Antarctica in Februar..

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCOTIA, NEW YORK (10/17/2023) (readMedia)-- Two LC-130s and aircrew with the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing are scheduled to depart for McMurdo Station Antarctica, on Wednesday, Oct. 18, as the wing commences another season of support to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program.

Members of the press are invited to cover the departure of the first two aircraft.

WHO: Twelve Airmen, the crews of two LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft.

WHAT: Airmen and aircraft with the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing head for Antarctica as part of the Operation Deep Freeze, the U.S. military's logistical support operation for Antarctic research during the summer months at the South Pole.

WHEN: 9:00 a.m., Wednesday October 18th, 2023 (Time has been allocated for interviews before the first flight takes off)

WHERE: 109th Airlift Wing, 1 Air National Guard Rd., Scotia, NY, 12302

Members of the media MUST contact Ms. Jaclyn Lyons by calling (518) 344-2423 no later than 8 a.m. on Wednesday October 18th, in order to gain access to the secure facility.

Media Opportunity:

Interviews will be available with 109th Airlift Wing officials to discuss this year's ODF season. There will also be an opportunity to obtain imagery of the aircraft taking off for Antarctica from the base.


The 109th's primary mission for the 2023 support season will be providing resupply to science stations on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Siple Dome Field camp, and the Amundson-Scott South Pole Station.

The Antarctic season this year runs from October through February, with 360 Airmen rotating through deployments to McMurdo Station. Five LC-130 "Skibirds" will support the mission from Christchurch, New Zealand and on-continent at McMurdo Station.

The New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing flew more than 180 missions from October 2022 to March 2023 in support of National Science Foundation research in Antarctica.

The wing deployed 420 Airmen and five ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules transport planes to the southern continent as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the Department of Defense logistics support for the National Science Foundation's Antarctica Program.

The Airmen completed more than 1,500 flight hours and transported 1.2 million pounds of fuel, 2.2 million pounds of cargo and 903 passengers.

Missions flown by the 109th Airmen included transporting personnel, equipment, and supplies from Christchurch, New Zealand to McMurdo Station, the largest research station in Antarctica, and to research stations throughout the continent of Antarctica.

The unique capabilities of the ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft make it the only one of its kind in the U.S. military, able to land on snow and ice. The primary mission of the 109th AW is to provide airlift within Antarctica, flying to various remote locations from McMurdo Station.

The 109 Airlift Wing has been supporting the National Science Foundation's South Pole research since 1988. Since 1999, the unit has been the sole provider of this type of airlift for U.S. Antarctic research efforts.