Airmen, soldiers, sailors, and Coast Guardsmen have concluded the 2010-11 season of Operation Deep Freeze, the US military’s operational and logistical support of US scientific research in Antarctica. C-17 aircrews from the 62nd Airlift Wing and Air Force Reserve Command’s 446th AW at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., flew a total of 69 missions between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Station, Antarctica, this season, which began last September. They transported 5,494 passengers and more than 4.9 million pounds of cargo. C-17 pilots also landed in Antarctica for the first time in complete darkness using night vision goggles. Crews from the New York Air National Guard’s 109th AW in Scotia flew their ski-equipped LC-130s in 406 missions, transporting thousands of passengers and 11.3 million pounds of cargo and fuel from McMurdo Station to the South Pole and other research outposts on the continent. (Pearl Harbor-Hickam report by MSgt. Kerry Jackson)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.