Guard Times

Vol 6, No. 2


Mar-Apr 98

109th Completes Antarctic Transition

109th AW patch

By Maj. Robert Bullock
109th Airlift Wing

WASHINGTON, DC - The New York Air National Guard officially inherited the mission to support National Science Foundation research in Antarctica during a recent Washington, DC signing ceremony.

The historic responsibility for providing ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft for airlift support missions to Antarctica was transferred to the 109th Airlift Wing when the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation signed a Memorandum of Agreement, Thursday, March 26 at the Pentagon.

U S Artic Program logo

The agreement, which included signatures from senior representatives of the DoD, the Air Force, the Navy, and US Transportation Command, the National Guard Bureau and the NSF, completed a three-year transition of program responsibility for LC-130 operations from the Navy to the New York Air National Guard. The Adjutant General of New York, Maj. Gen. John H. Fenimore V, and the Chief of Staff for the New York Air National Guard, Col. Archie J. Berberian II, 109th Air Wing Vice Commander Col. Graham Pritchard and other senior staff members of the 109th attended.

The agreement signing is the last in a series of transition events held in recent months. Ceremonies held in McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Christchurch, New Zealand and Port Hueneme, CA, symbolically brought closure to Navy oversight over logistic air support on the Antarctica continent which began in 1955.

During the 1998-99 Antarctic research season, the Navy's lone-remaining flying unit in Antarctica, Antarctica Development Squadron Six (VXE-6), will assist the 109th Airlift Wing, DoD's newly designated LC-130 airlift provider to the NSF.

The 109th has operated in polar environments since 1975 and is the only LC-130 unit in the world flying the ski-equipped airlift aircraft in both the northern and southern polar regions. By February 1999 and the conclusion of the Antarctic season, they will be the only unit in the world operating the LC-130.

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: March - April 1998 Issue of Guard Times published: 11 June 1998 (mjs)

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