1/5/2008 - HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii --
Teamwork, flexibility, and airpower delivered critical repair parts to a stranded British fishing vessel, the Argos Georgia, and its 25-person crew Jan. 4. The vessel had lost all main power and been frozen in the ice flow off the Ross Ice Shelf since Christmas Eve (New Zealand time).
"Considering the unforgiving Antarctic climate, we recognized the potential for this to become a life or death situation. Quick action was needed and versatile airpower was the response," said Lt. Gen. Loyd S. "Chip" Uttterback, 13th Air Force and Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica, Operation Deep Freeze commander.
In an 11-hour mission, a C-17 and crew launched from Christchurch, New Zealand, and airdropped approximately 150 pounds of supplies abeam the Argos Georgia.
"This is what we train for, what we're experts at. It's a challenging mission, but this capability is inherent in the C-17 and epitomizes the Global Reach concept", said Lt. Col. Jim McGann, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander.
The Argos Georgia had suffered serious engine failure from negotiating ice while heading South in the Ross Sea, leaving it without propulsion and drifting with the ice. The owning company, Argos Georgia Limited, researched potential options to get the needed engine parts to the stranded crew. When no quick response options were available, the company requested U.S. military assistance. To assist with the operation, Argos Georgia Limited provided the spare parts and floatation aids.
A C-17 and 62nd Airlift Wing and 446th Airlift Wing aircrews and support personnel from McChord AFB, Wash., are currently deployed to Christchurch to support the 13th AF-led JTF-SFA, ODF. ODF is a unique joint and total-force mission that annually supports the National Science Foundation and U.S. Antarctic Program that began in 1955.
Due to their on-going support for ODF, the McChord crew is a highly-experienced Antarctic airdrop qualified team.
For more information, contact Thirteenth Air Force Public Affairs at 808-449-7985 or firstname.lastname@example.org.