Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Operation Deep Freeze main season underway

Note: Complete information can be found at

Air operations in support of the 52nd Operation Deep Freeze main season are underway.

A C-17 Globemaster III from the 62nd Airlift Wing, at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., completed three missions this past week from Christchurch, New Zealand, kicking off the 2007 to 2008 season for the 13th Air Force-led Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica, Operation Deep Freeze.

Since Oct. 2 (New Zealand time), 283 passengers and 106, 299 pounds of cargo have been flown to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, which serves as the logistical hub for much of the U.S. and Antarctic program.

During the winter fly-in season, Aug. 20 to 25, a McChord C-17 and crew flew a total of 355 passengers and 119,953 pounds of cargo to and from McMurdo Station to prepare for the arrival of the main body population of scientist and support staff.

Ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules aircraft, crews and support personnel from the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing will begin deploying to McMurdo Station in mid-October. The LC-130s will transport passengers and cargo from McMurdo Station to other research posts throughout Antarctica.

Operation Deep Freeze is a unique joint and total-force mission that has supported the National Science Foundation and U.S. Antarctic Program that began in 1955. The start of the season was heralded Sept. 28 in a ceremony at Christchurch.

Lt. Gen. Loyd S. "Chip" Utterback, the 13th Air Force commander, attended along with the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand William McCormick, Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore, National Science Foundation officials and others. Members of the 1958 New Zealand Trans-Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole also participated.

Operation Deep Freeze involves active-duty and Reserve C-17 support from McChord AFB, New York, Air National Guard LC-130s, and other aircraft as necessary to support the mission; one U.S. Military Sealift Command tanker, one MSC-chartered cargo ship, and the U.S. Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One to provide critical port services at McMurdo Station. All deployed forces are scheduled to return to home station in March 2008.