HomeNewsArticle Display

Increased Antarctic airlift capability contributes to science

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., rests on Pegasus Ice Runway, Antarctica during Operation Deep Freeze (ODF), July 15, 2016. ODF is unlike any other U.S. military operation.  It is one of the military’s most difficult peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment.  The U.S. military is uniquely equipped and trained to operate in such an austere environment and has therefore provided support to the U.S. Antarctic Program since 1955. (U.S. Air Force Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Madelyn McCullough)

A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., rests on Pegasus Ice Runway, Antarctica, during Operation Deep Freeze, July 15, 2016. ODF is one of the military’s most difficult peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment. The U.S. military is uniquely equipped and trained to operate in such an austere environment and has therefore provided support to the U.S. Antarctic Program since 1955. (U.S. Air Force Reserve photo/Staff Sgt. Madelyn McCullough)

A member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) helps U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Marc Staten, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron loadmaster, move a pallet onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during Operation Deep Freeze (ODF), July 15, 2016 at Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand. ODF is a joint operation between the U.S. Air Force, the National Science Foundation, and the RNZAF. Every year, a joint and total force team works to complete a successful ODF season.

A member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force helps U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Marc Staten, a 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron loadmaster, move a pallet onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during Operation Deep Freeze July 15, 2016 at Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand. ODF is a joint operation between the U.S. Air Force, the National Science Foundation, and the RNZAF. Every year, a joint and total force team works to complete a successful ODF season. (Courtesy photo)

Passengers and cargo heading to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, are ready to fly during Operation Deep Freeze (ODF), July 15, 2016 at Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand. Operation Deep Freeze is a joint operation between the U.S. Air Force, the National Science Foundation, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. (U.S. Air Force Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Madelyn McCullough)

Passengers and cargo heading to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, are ready to fly during Operation Deep Freeze July 15, 2016, at Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand. ODF is a joint operation between the U.S. Air Force, the National Science Foundation and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. (U.S. Air Force Reserve photo/Staff Sgt. Madelyn McCullough)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) -- Over the past 60 years, winter flying missions have provided a significant contribution to how the National Science Foundation conducts scientific research in Antarctica.

The C-17 Globemaster III 2016-2017 season recently wrapped up, and the night vision goggle (NVG) capability paired with mid-Austral winter flying continued to be a game changing airlift support for the National Science Foundation during Operation Deep Freeze.

Citizen Airmen assigned to the 446th Airlift Wing and active-duty Air Force members assigned to the 62nd AW formed blended aircrews to deploy as part of the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron who provide airlift to the Antarctic in support of the NSF-managed U.S. Antarctic Program.

“The 446th Operations Group performed at a high level of expertise this season,” said Senior Master Sgt. Derek Bryant, a 446th Operations Group loadmaster. “Every aircrew member should know that they laid a foundation that the NSF is now building upon and the mid-winter missions coupled with our NVG capability have launched us into a new era for ODF.”

Despite the difficulty of operating in an austere environment, the 166 total force personnel deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, airlifted 1.8 million pounds of cargo and transported 2,992 passengers into the Antarctic, logging a total of 393 flight hours.

“The new McMurdo-Phoenix Airfield was validated and approved for C-17 and wheeled aircraft operations,” said Lt. Col. Robert Schmidt, the 304th EAS mission commander and 62nd Operations Group deputy commander. “The new field replaces Pegasus field, which has experienced several seasons of melting, and is expected to remain in use beyond 2030."

Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand, is the staging point for deployments to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, a key research and operations facility for the USAP. Deployment support at McMurdo is provided by Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica and led by Pacific Air Forces at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Community outreach was a highlight for this season as well. The mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, presented the 304th EAS with a civic award for supporting local charities. Aircrews supported New Zealand’s yearly IceFest—a unique festival, with over 4,500 attendees, highlighting New Zealand’s leadership in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean—with a C-17 static display.

Through six decades of continuous support, ODF has evolved to meet today’s logistics requirements of the USAP. Joint Task Force – Support Forces Antarctica, headquartered at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, executes inter- and intra-theater airlift, tactical LC-130 deep field support, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements at NSF’s request in order to support the USAP.

Planning for the next season will include continued refinement of the mid-Austral schedule as well as supporting NSF future requirements.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@TeamMinot celebrates equality this #WomensHistoryMonth by hosting an all-women’s missile alert.… https://t.co/2379t1LIZm
.@US_EUCOM received a Bomber Task Force of #B52s, #Airmen and equipment in preparation for joint and allied theater… https://t.co/itIF3lxCcA
Hear #Airmen of the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron share what the #C130J mission means to them. https://t.co/MifPeiclpP
.@ScottAFB #Airmen use their love of the game to even the battlefield both on and off the court. https://t.co/ul1Z33LV2t
Are you getting enough Zzs 😴 at night? If not, try these simple changes throughout the day to sleep more restfully… https://t.co/ppAAtT6bgK
.@KunsanAirBase dental #Airmen are supporting a high readiness status using a #CEREC, a machine that produces custo… https://t.co/ULji8m6wMs
.@RAFMildenhall's #innovative improvement to their dorm key system saves money and time, and improves security. https://t.co/hmB0BEmx9F
#USAF and @USNavy partner to complete missions around the world. Watch how #Airmen and #Sailors use #airpower to de… https://t.co/GULcztQL0C
RT @PACAF: #COMPACAF and multinational #5thgen experts had the opportunity to experience an #F35 simulator in #Hawaii. #interoperability #R
These @341MissileWing #Airmen braved sub-zero temperatures and frigid, heavy snow to save a citizen stranded in a s… https://t.co/qeMSUoVbNy
.@grandslamwing has some real SLICC #Airmen, who provide communications in the sky. Watch how: @USAFCENT @CENTCOM https://t.co/oEkz70r0n1
.@Travis60AMW and @USAScienceFest hosted 600+ middle school students for this #XSTEM event, where #airpower was use… https://t.co/XGbEsE3Gs6
On today's #ThrowbackThursday, we remember all the #LadiesofLiberty #Airmen who help make our mission possible.… https://t.co/DRv3XKHd6a
RT @NASA: LIVE NOW: Three space travelers, including two @NASA_Astronauts, are set to launch to the @Space_Station at 3:14pm ET for a six-a…
RT @AstroHague: On our way to the launch complex at Baikonur Cosmodrome. Lift off on #PiDay...an engineer’s dream come true. Next stop, @Sp
.@AstroHague is one of few #astronauts to survive an aborted post-launch space mission. Hear his harrowing journey,… https://t.co/q5noJpVbdf
.@SecAFOfficial & @GenDaveGoldfein outline service’s priorities, aspirations to Senate subcommittee. #FY2020https://t.co/QSPay0Hbld
Nothing says #goodmorning like a good morning #FODWalk! SSgt. Benjamin Jordan, production controller w/ the 911th… https://t.co/4u8R627zVt