109th Airlift Wing launches two LC-130s Tuesday, Oct. 17, as Antarctic research support seasons begins

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An LC-130 of the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing on a mission to Greenland.

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCIOTIA, NY (10/16/2017) (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 Oct. 17 as the wing launchs its 30th season of Operation Deep Freeze support.

Operation Deep Freeze is the logistical support that the military provides to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program.

Members of the press are welcome to cover the departure of the aircraft.

WHO: Two ski-equipped LC-130s and their aircrews are scheduled to take off from Stratton Air National Guard Base, N.Y.

WHAT: Every year, Airmen and aircraft with the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing head for Antarctica to support the National Science Foundation. The first flight of the season launched on Friday, Oct. 13.

WHEN: 6:30 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 (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 MSgt Catharine Schmidt by either calling or texting (518) 701-4312 or calling (518) 344-2423 no later than 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, 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.


Throughout the Operation Deep Freeze support season, which runs through February, a total of five LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft and about 500 Airmen are expected to deploy, with between 200 and 250 missions planned. About 120 Airmen will be deployed on the ice at any one time.

During the 2016-17 season, the 109th flew an estimated 2,550 researchers and support staff plus about 3 million pounds of cargo and 2 million pounds of fuel to research stations across the continent.

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. Crews will transport scientists, support, fuel, supplies, medical supplies and more throughout the season.

The 109th Airlift Wing has been supporting the NSF's South Pole research since 1988. Since 1999, the unit has been the sole provider of this type of airlift to the NSF and U.S. Antarctic research efforts.