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New York’s 109th Airlift Wing preps for Greenland missions

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jocelyn Tuller,
  • New York National Guard

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. – Three LC-130 “Skibirds” and around 75 Airmen from the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing will be heading for Greenland at the end of April to support National Science Foundation research.

The 109th flies the aircraft, the largest in the world equipped with skis to land on snow and ice, to conduct resupply missions for American scientific research in Antarctica when it is winter in New York and in Greenland during the summer months.

In 2021, the wing’s Airmen carried 1.3 million pounds of cargo and 32,000 gallons of fuel and delivered 910 passengers to science stations in Greenland. They flew a total of 678 hours.

The aircraft and Airmen departing at the end of the month are the first of six rotations of 75 to 100 Airmen and three aircraft scheduled throughout the summer support season. The season is to end in August.

The Airmen fly from Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, near Schenectady, New York, to Kangerlussuaq International Airport in Greenland, which serves as their operating base.

This year, the main focus is training Airmen from the 109th and supporting ongoing construction at Summit Station, which is operated by the National Science Foundation.

Summit Station is the only high altitude, high latitude, inland, year‐round observing station in the Arctic. Summit Station is funded by the NSF and supports their research due to Greenland’s weather conditions. Located at the apex of the Greenland ice sheet, it is staffed in the winter by a team of five people.

In 2021, the wing spent an extra eight days in Greenland to retrieve a construction team from Summit Station.

In 2021, the 109th also deployed an aircraft and Airmen to Greenland to support a Danish search and rescue training exercise in addition to their regular science station resupply mission.

“The time frame this year is more aligned with what it normally would be, said Maj. Jacob Papp, the chief of the Greenland operations.

The 109th will also be conducting arctic survival training at Raven Camp. All members of the 109th who deploy to Antarctica and Greenland must attend this training.

Some members from the 109th deployed to Greenland at the beginning of April to prepare for the season to come.

“This Greenland season has potential to be a good season for both parties with the National Science Foundation and the 109th as far as getting people spun up,” Papp said. “The key this year is to get ready for the Operation Deep Freeze season and align for a successful season in Antarctica.”