HomeNewsArticle Display

60th Anniversary of Operation DEEP FREEZE concludes

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III sits at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, during a previous iteration of Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III sits at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, during a previous iteration of Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Dirk Smith, Joint Task Force - Support Forces Antarctica commander, and Col. Mark Doll, JTF-SFA deputy commander, visit forces at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Feb. 11, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Dirk Smith, Joint Task Force - Support Forces Antarctica commander, and Col. Mark Doll, JTF-SFA deputy commander, visit forces at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Feb. 11, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Coast Guard's Icebreaker POLAR STAR clears ice from Waterquarters Bay at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Jan. 20, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Coast Guard's Icebreaker POLAR STAR clears ice from Waterquarters Bay at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Jan. 20, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

A Military Sealift Command charter cargo vessel OCEAN GIANT transports cargo at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Jan. 27, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

A Military Sealift Command charter cargo vessel OCEAN GIANT transports cargo at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Jan. 27, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

The Military Sealift Command's charter fuel tanker MEARSK PEARY offloads fuel at McMurdo Station Antarctica, Feb. 5, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

The Military Sealift Command's charter fuel tanker MEARSK PEARY offloads fuel at McMurdo Station Antarctica, Feb. 5, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III and LC-130 Hercules aircraft sit on the ramp at Christchurch, New Zealand, during a previous iteration of Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III and LC-130 Hercules aircraft sit on the ramp at Christchurch, New Zealand, during a previous iteration of Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

A U.S. Air Force LC-130 Hercules from the 109th Airlift Wing with the New York Air National Guard, sits on the ramp at Christchurch, New Zealand, Jan. 13, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

A U.S. Air Force LC-130 Hercules from the 109th Airlift Wing with the New York Air National Guard, sits on the ramp at Christchurch, New Zealand, Jan. 13, 2016, during Operation DEEP FREEZE, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation. This year marked the 60th Anniversary of the operation. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

 The 2015-2016 Antarctic research season concluded March 12 following the redeployment of U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, and LC-130 Skibird aircraft to the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base, New York.

 

This iteration of the operation marked the 60th Anniversary of Operation Deep Freeze (ODF), the military’s logistical support to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), which first began in 1955.

 

Through six decades of continuous support, ODF has evolved to meet today’s logistics requirements of the USAP. Joint Task Force – Support Forces Antarctica, headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, executes inter- and intra-theater airlift, tactical LC-130 deep field support, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements at NSF’s request in order to support the USAP. 

 

“This has been a successful season that presented numerous challenges with weather, logistics, and maintenance,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Mark Doll, JTF-SFA deputy commander. “Every day, JTF-SFA personnel were confronted with choices and decisions to overcome the complexities of operating in the southern-most continent.  All of this was accomplished by the Airmen, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and Soldiers of JTF-SFA -- a dedicated group of men and women working in an unforgiving environment.  The high level of operational experience in polar environments, combined with the appropriate risk-mitigation procedures, led to the successful outcome of this season. Three words on the back of the Antarctica Service Medal say it best: COURAGE, SACRIFICE and DEVOTION.” 

 

Throughout the 2015-2016 season, JTF-SFA directed more than 350 inter/intra-theater airlift missions, moving over 6.5 million pounds of material and transporting approximately 5,500 passengers. 

 

The 139th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, comprised of personnel and LC-130s from the 109th AW, delivered personnel, cargo and fuel to the South Pole and several other deep-field camps.

 

The 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, comprised of personnel and a C-17 from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings from JBLM, provided strategic airlift into NSF’s McMurdo Station, Antarctica, as well as night-vision goggle capabilities to perform nighttime winter flights and offer emergency airdrop capabilities to the South Pole or any other location on the continent.

 

As part of the joint effort, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker POLAR STAR, a 399-foot polar class icebreaker with a 150-person crew, arrived in McMurdo Sound in January to cut the channel through seven-foot-thick ice to the McMurdo ice pier. 

 

The POLAR STAR cleared a path for Military Sealift Command operations in the port and departed McMurdo Station in February with the final MSC ship to ensure clear passage to the open waters of the Ross Sea.

 

MSC charter cargo vessel OCEAN GIANT arrived in McMurdo toward the end of January to deliver 16.5 million pounds of cargo.  The U.S. Navy’s Naval Cargo Handling Battalion-1 from Williamsburg, Virginia, performed the cargo offload. 

 

Over 1,000 pieces of cargo were moved during the ship’s seven-day stop at the pier.  Following the OCEAN GIANT’s departure, the MSC charter fuel tanker MEARSK PEARY arrived and completed the offload of 4.8 million gallons of fuel and departed McMurdo Station with the POLAR STAR in February.

 

Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Public Health Command conducted inspections of the food storage, handling and service programs.

 

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Dirk D. Smith, JTF-SFA commander, traveled to Christchurch, New Zealand, and Antarctica to witness operations and assess the redeployment phase. Smith visited operations and maintenance areas, interacted with military personnel from all work centers in Christchurch and “on the ice” at McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole stations and met with senior NSF officials.

 

“JTF-SFA is committed to sustaining an ‘active and influential presence’ in Antarctica, supporting NSF’s mission,” Smith said.  “As the logistics backbone of the mission, our dedicated team of joined forces provides a mature, well-run program supporting world-class science in Antarctica.  I was able to witness firsthand the harsh and challenging conditions faced by the JTF team and USAP members. It is clear these selfless professionals are doing critically important strategic work for our nation.”

 

JTF-SFA remains active to support short-notice requirements and to commence plans for the next season.  The next Operation DEEP FREEZE event is a mid-winter C-17 (NVG equipped) mission in early June to McMurdo Station.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.