STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SCOTIA, NY (05/18/2017) (readMedia)-- The 109th Airlift Wing's annual support for National Science Foundation research in Greenland got underway in April and May as wing members delivered 177 tons of cargo and 2,000 gallons of fuel during the first three-week rotation of the season.
The second rotation of three LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft and 80 airmen departed on May 15.
Airmen and aircraft will rotate between the town of Kangerlussuaq (Kanger-loose-a-wack), the wing's operations base while in Greenland, and Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, N.Y, four more times between now and the end of August.
The Airmen and aircraft transport fuel, cargo and passengers to and from the various science camps throughout Greenland during the summer months.
The wing's Greenland missions also serve as training for the support the unit provides for the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Program when it is winter in New York and summer in Antarctica.
Along with the unit's routine supply missions, this rotation also includes 25 Airmen who are taking part in Arctic survival training at Raven Camp better known as "Kool Skool". Airmen spend three days in the field learning survival skills, including how to build a shelter and use only the items immediately available to them to survive in the Arctic.
The 109th deploys at various times between April and August for Greenland. Each year, about six rotations consisting of two to four aircraft and up to 80 Airmen each, go for anywhere from six to 14 days at a time depending on the needs of the National Science Foundation
Each year the 109th flies more than 800 hours during the Greenland support season; while transporting about 2.1 million pounds of cargo, 49,000 pounds of fuel, and 1,790 passengers.
The Greenland season will come to a close in August; however, there's not much downtime for those supporting the mission.
The Greenland planning conference for 2018 will be held in October, around the same time Airmen and aircraft begin shifting to support Antarctic operations as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the U.S. Department of Defense's support to Antarctic science programs.
The 109th Airlift Wing flies the LC-130, which is a Hercules C-130 transport modified to land on snow and ice on skies. This is the largest ski-equipped aircraft in the world and the only ski-equipped aircraft in the U.S. military.