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National Guard makes its annual summer run

WNYT Staff
Updated: October 28, 2019 04:54 PM
Created: October 28, 2019 02:53 PM

GLENVILLE – It's science in the air and on the ground to help support the ongoing efforts of the National Science Foundation in Antarctica.

Seven ski-equipped LC-130's will be sent from the Stratton Air National Guard Base, 109th Airlift Wing, to McMurdo Station, Antarctica – via California, Hawaii, Pago Pago, American Samoa, and Christchurch, New Zealand. It’s been supporting the NSF South Pole program since 1988.

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"On a beautiful day it's really not that difficult but you don't always have beautiful days down there,” said Major Jeff Wood, navigator on his fifth mission. “You can have days where you literally have white out conditions and you can be forced to land where you can't even see the ground you're landing on."

The modified wheel-ski gear planes are part of "Operation Deep Freeze." Overall, about 500 airmen are expected to deploy, 120 on the ice at any one time. Last year, they transported some 2.8 million pounds of cargo and 1.8 million pounds of fuel.

"The navigator's job is to really be in that radar guiding the pilots to the ski way,” said Wood. “Those ski ways are marked so you can see them on the radar, they show up really nicely on that so we get them there when the weather's lousy.”

This used be a joint operation with the U.S. Navy. Then in 1999, the mission was taken over by the ANG.

"We train as a team, we operate as a team down there and we get the mission done,” said Wood, who is originally from Miami, FL but has worked in Buffalo and Alaska.


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