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DVIDS – News – The 109th Airlift Wing completes its missions in Greenland and heads to southern Antarctica

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NATIONAL AIR GUARD BASE, STRATTON, Nova Scotia — Airmen from the 109th Airlift Wing concluded their support for science missions in Greenland in September, then launched planes to Antarctica in October to support the search for the National Science Foundation at the South Pole.

From March through September, the 109th Aircrews flew 678 hours and delivered 1.3 million pounds of cargo, 32,000 gallons of fuel and 910 passengers to locations across the Greenland ice cap.

The 2021 Greenland support season started a month earlier and lasted until September. Normally, the squadron ends its flying operations in Greenland in August.
The wing added a month in March for additional training at the start.

Starting the missions a month in early March allowed the squadron to train further at Camp Raven, the Greenland training location the 109th uses to train on snow and ice landings. and on operations in the Arctic.

“Going up in March was beneficial for the initial setup of Camp Raven,” said Major Jacob Papp, chief of arctic operations for the 109th.

“This allowed us to keep a group of instructors and assessors up to date to then provide instructions for the next flight period,” Papp said.

An additional 8-day flight period was added at the end of the season to meet a National Science Foundation requirement to retrieve a construction crew at Summit Station, the year-round staffed research station. near the top of the Greenland ice cap.

In addition to the weather and long-distance flights to austere locations, handling the COVID-19 pandemic continued to pose challenges for New York National Guard aviators, according to Papp.

According to Pap.

On October 4, the wing launched the first of three planes bound for Antarctica to support National Science Foundation research from December 2021 to February 2022. The other two planes departed on October 15.
The wing has deployed 184 Airmen to operate from the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, flying missions across the continent to move personnel and supplies.
The airmen deployed in October because COVID-19 health restrictions required longer-than-normal quarantines and layovers along the route from New York to New Zealand, which serves as the final transit area for Antarctica.
The airmen were also tested several times to make sure they had not contracted COVID-19.

The 109th’s primary mission for the 2021-2022 support season is to resupply science stations on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Siple Dome Field Camp and Amundson-Scott Station at the South Pole, according to Price.

The remote field camps serve as aviation hubs and refueling points for travel across the continent as well as scientific research in West Antarctica. The Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole is a National Science Foundation research facility located at the geographic South Pole.

At the end of the season, the Wing’s Airmen will make intercontinental trips from Christchurch, New Zealand to McMurdo Station.

Normally, flight crews pass through McMurdo Station and a typical Antarctic season runs from October to March.
During the 2020-2021 support season, the 109th’s Aircraft called in New Zealand and flew the minimum number of missions necessary to support the resupply efforts. These changes were made to control the spread of COVID-19.

Finally, the 109th Airmen flew six missions to Antarctica during the shortened 2020-2021 season. They carried out three medical evacuation missions, transported 148 researchers and support staff, and delivered 63,000 pounds of essential goods to research stations across the continent.

The LC-130s of the 109th Airlift Wing are operating as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the military support of the American Antarctic program.

Date taken: 10.07.2021
Date posted: 07/10/2021 10:27
Story ID: 406932
Site: SCOTLAND, NY, United States
Hometown: SCOTLAND, NY, United States

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