SCOTIA, NY (11/08/2017) New York Air National Guard member Kayla Casey, a Glenville resident, was promoted to Senior Airman at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, on Nov. 4.
Casey is deployed to Antarctica as part of the 109th Airlift Wing's annual support of Antarctic research programs conducted by the National Science Foundation. Casey is a Financial Management Technician for the wing.
McMurdo Station is the largest research facility on the Antarctic continent and is operated by the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Program. McMurdo is the hub for all United States research activity in Antarctica.
This is the 30 year the wing has supported science research at the South Pole.
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.
The U.S. military provides logistics support with ships and aircraft to the National Science Foundation annually under the designation Operation Deep Freeze.
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.