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American Forces Press Service

New York Air Guard Begins Annual Greenland Mission

By Air Force Master Sgt. Catharine Schmidt New York National Guard

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y., May 22, 2017 – The New York Air National Guard's 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 season's first three-week rotation.

The second rotation of three LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft and 80 airmen departed May 15.

Airmen and aircraft will rotate between the town of Kangerlussuaq -- the wing's operations base while in Greenland -- and Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, four more times between now and the end of August.

Fuel, Cargo, Passenger Transport

The airmen and aircraft transport fuel, cargo and passengers to and from the various science camps throughout Greenland during the summer. 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 an Arctic climate.

The 109th deploys to Greenland at various times between April and August. 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 National Science Foundation's needs.

Each year, the wing 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. A Greenland planning conference for 2018 is planned in October, around the same time airmen and aircraft begin shifting to support Antarctic operations as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the Defense Department's support to Antarctic science programs.

The 109th Airlift Wing flies the LC-130, a C-130 Hercules transport modified with skis to land on snow and ice. This is the largest ski-equipped aircraft in the world, and the only ski-equipped aircraft in the U.S. military.



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