SCOTIA, NY (11/08/2017) New York Air National Guard member Courtney Cereo, an East Greenbush resident, was promoted to staff sergeant during a ceremony held at McMurdo Station, Antarctica on Nov. 4.
Cereo, a member of the 109th Airlift Wing's 139th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, is currently deployed at McMurdo Station as part of the wing's annual support of National Science Foundation research in Antarctica.
This is the 30 year the wing has supported science research at the South Pole as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the military's support to Antarctic research.
The 109th Airlift Wing, based at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, N.Y., flies the LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft. The planes are the only ones in the U.S. military able to land on snow and ice.
Around 120 Airmen from the 109th are deployed at McMurdo at any one time. About 500 Airmen will deploy throughout the season. Five aircraft will provide support.
Throughout the Operation Deep Freeze support season, which runs through February, the wing plans to fly between 200 and 250 missions.
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 109th has supported the National Science Foundation since 1988 and been the sole provider of this type of airlift since 1999.