Air Guard members return from Antarctica as 109th Airlift Wing brings support season to a close

Media Advisory

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCOTIA, N.Y. (02/28/2017) (readMedia)-- Nineteen Airmen with the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing will be returning home on Wednesday morning, March 1 as the wing wraps up another successful deployment to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze for the 29th time.

Members of the press are invited to cover the Airmen's return from Antarctica.

WHO: Nineteen Citizen Airmen of the Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing will be returning home following the Wing's 29th season supporting Operation Deep Freeze, the military's support for Antarctic research via a C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, New York.

WHAT: Airmen return from Operation Deep Freeze and reunit with their families.

WHEN: 7 a.m., Wednesday, March 1, 2017

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 as soon as possible in order to gain access to the secure facility.

Media Opportunity:

Interviews will be available with the Airmen returning home. There will also be an opportunity to obtain imagery of the aircraft landing. Time has been allotted to obtain imagery before the Airmen head home.


Throughout the season, which began in October, six LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft and about 500 Airmen deployed to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The Wing provided five months of support of United States Antarctic research efforts and completed more than 150 missions within Antarctica by flying 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 transported scientists, support, fuel, supplies, medical supplies and more throughout the season.

In December, an aircrew with the 109th Airlift Wing evacuated retired U.S. astronaut Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin from the South Pole after he became ill while visiting as a private tourist.

The 109th AW 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 to the National Science Foundation and U.S. Antarctic research efforts.

The 109th Airlift Wing also provides support to National Science Foundation research operations in Greenland during the summer months and has been a participant in Canadian Forces exercises in the Arctic.