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NEWS | May 28, 2024

New York’s 109th Airlift Wing Begins 2024 Greenland Missions

By Tech. Sgt. Madison Scaringe, 109th Air Wing

STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. - Four LC-130 “Skibirds” and about 75 Airmen from the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing began the annual Greenland season supporting the National Science Foundation.

The 109th flies the largest ski-equipped aircraft in the world, capable of landing on snow and ice. The wing conducts resupply missions for American scientific research in Antarctica when it is winter in New York and in Greenland during the summer months.

In 2023, the wing’s Airmen carried 2.4 million pounds of cargo and 86,000 gallons of fuel and delivered 1,300 passengers to science stations in Greenland. They flew a total of 721 hours.

The aircraft and Airmen are currently in the second of six rotations of 75 to 100 Airmen and four aircraft scheduled throughout the summer support season.

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 construction at Summit Station.

Summit Station is operated by the National Science Foundation and is the only high altitude, high latitude, inland, year‐round observing station in the Arctic.

“The Greenland season is a critical opportunity for us to support the National Science Foundation’s efforts, particularly with the rebuilding of Summit Station,” said Col. Robert Donaldson, commander of the 109th Airlift Wing.

“Our Greenland deployments, which take us to some of the most austere polar environments on Earth, also demonstrate the wing’s power projection capabilities with the LC-130 and our remarkable Airmen making it happen,” he said.

According to the National Science Foundation, Summit Station is important for monitoring the atmosphere and conducting astronomy and astrophysical science.

It is located at the apex of the Greenland ice sheet and is staffed in the winter by a team of five people.

The foundation has decided to rebuild the 30-year-old station so it can be elevated above snow drifts on platforms that are easy to lift and level.

According to the foundation, the new Summit Station will be energy efficient and incorporate renewable energy and autonomous systems where possible.

“The LC-130 is the only aircraft capable of carrying such a substantial amount of cargo to these remote camps, thanks to its unique ski-equipped design. This capability is crucial for the rebuilding of Summit Station,” Donaldson said.

“Our mission-ready Airmen are incredibly skilled and dedicated to navigating the challenging Arctic conditions to ensure mission success. Their expertise, commitment, and rock-solid warrior ethos are what make these complex operations possible,” he said.

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



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