Thirty-seven airmen from McChord AFB, Wash., left the comparative warmth of their base on Sept. 24 in a C-17 loaded with more than 90,000 pounds of cargo destined for Antarctica. The sortie was part of the 2009-10 season of the Defense Department’s Operation Deep Freeze, its airlift and sealift support of US national research in Antarctica that formally kicked off Sept. 26. More than 60 support missions are planned this season with C-17s from McChord and ski-equipped LC-130s from the New York Air National Guard. The first few flights into McMurdo Station, Antarctica, will carry support personnel; then the aircraft will begin to ferry in supplies. Compared to last season, the number of C-17 missions will increase by approximately 25 percent. This season also marks the 10th year that C-17s will participate. (McChord report by SSgt. Eric Burks)
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.