New York “Skibirds” Head to Antarctica

The New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia has dispatched four of its ski-equipped LC-130s to support the National Science Foundation’s research mission in Antarctica. This deployment marks the kickoff of the unit’s annual participation in Operation Deep Freeze, the US military’s logistical backing of the research mission. While C-17s from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., stage from Christchurch, New Zealand, for Deep Freeze, the LC-130s will be forward based at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, beginning with their arrival in late October, said wing officials in an Oct. 15 release. A total of six of the unit’s LC-130s will be on the ice from October to February, running supplies and personnel to camps across Antarctica, states the release. The 2012-13 season is the New York Air Guardsmen’s 24th year of support for Deep Freeze. They are expected to fly more than 350 missions this season, with about 120 of them deploying throughout the season to the barren continent.