Air Force Leads Joint Operation to Antarctica
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The U.S. military recently kicked off the 2012-2013 season of Operation Deep Freeze, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation.
The operation began with C-17 Globemaster III operations Sept. 29 and will continue with LC-130 Hercules operations beginning Oct. 18.
Operation Deep Freeze involves U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard forces providing operational and logistical support of the NSF's scientific research activities in Antarctica.
This support is provided by the Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica, led by Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. JTF-SFA coordinates strategic inter-theater airlift, tactical deep field support, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements.
Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand, is the staging point for deployments to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, a key research and operations facility for the USAP.
Operation Deep Freeze is unlike any other U.S. military operation, according to officials. It is one of the military's most difficult peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment. The U.S. military is uniquely equipped and trained to operate in such an austere environment and has therefore provided support to the USAP since 1955.
Active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard work together as part of the joint task force. This team continues the tradition of U.S. military support to the USAP and demonstrates the United States' commitment to a stable Pacific region, officials said.
Airlift for Operation Deep Freeze involves active duty and Reserve C-17 support from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; LC-130 support from the New York Air National Guard; sealift support from the U.S. Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command; engineering and aviation services from U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command; and cargo handling from the U.S. Navy.