Operation Deep Freeze: New York Air National Guard unit set for annual Antarctica mission

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SCOTIA, New York — A New York Air National Guard unit based near Albany is gearing up for its annual mission to the South Pole.

The Schenectady County-based 109th Airlift Wing is about to launch its 27th season in support of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. National Guard officials say more than 120 Air Guard members from New York will be involved in the mission, which lasts into March.

The air wing is the only unit in the U.S. military that flies ski-equipped LC-130s. They'll being flying eight of the aircraft while supporting National Science Foundation scientists in remote locations.

The 109th expects to conduct more than 350 missions during the operation, up from the 285 missions flown last year. They'll deliver more than 5 million pounds of fuel and cargo along with transporting nearly 4,500 passengers.

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