Airmen and ski-equipped aircraft from the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing have started their annual journey to Antarctica.
Two ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules and 23 Airmen left Stratton Air National Guard Base, New York, last October to participate in the wing's 29th season supporting Operation Deep Freeze, the military component of the US Antarctic Program managed by the National Science Foundation.
Throughout the season, which runs through February 2017, a total of six LC-130's and 500 Airmen are expected to deploy, with between 300 and 350 missions planned. About 120 Airmen will be deployed on the ice at any one time.
The unique capabilities of the ski-equipped LC-130, such as the ability to land on snow and ice, make it the only one of its kind in the US military, said Col. Christian Sander, the 109th Operations Group commander.
The primary mission of the 109th AW is to provide airlift within Antarctica, flying to various remote locations from McMurdo Station. Crews will transport scientists, support equipment, fuel, medical supplies and more throughout the season.
Last season, the...