USAF C-17A kicks off latest season of Op Deep Freeze

The 2021-2022 season of Operation Deep Freeze (ODF) officially began after a US Air Force (USAF)-operated Boeing C-17A Globemaster III completed the first winter fly-in (or ‘WinFly’) mission to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, earlier this month.

The successful completion of this inaugural ‘WinFly’ mission was announced by the US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) command on August 20. The C-17A – which hails from the 62nd Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state – delivered approximately 100 people and 48,500lb of cargo to McMurdo Station.

USAF C-17A McMurdo Station Antarctica [USAF/Maj Tyler Boyd]
A USAF-operated Boeing C-17A Globemaster III heavy-lift strategic transport from the 62nd Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, rests on the ground at McMurdo Station during an Operation Deep Freeze Mission. The US military has supported this unique mission since 1995. USAF/Maj Tyler Boyd

Lt Col Matthew Johnson, the acting deputy commander of Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica (JTF-SFA), said: “The 2021-2022 ODF season is another opportunity to demonstrate our military dedication, ingenuity and labour in support of the Antarctic mission. We took all appropriate measures to prevent COVID-19 [and] still we were able to provide transportation and logistics to the US Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation.”

ODF serves as a joint service, inter-agency support mission for the National Science Foundation, which manages the US Antarctic Program (USAP). Under this arrangement, JTF-SFA provides US Department of Defense (DoD) support to the National Science Foundation and its USAP mission through the ODF operation.

As part of the mission, JTF-SFA coordinates the strategic inter-theatre airlift; tactical deep field support; aeromedical evacuation; search and rescue response; sealift; seaport access; bulk fuel supply logistics; port cargo handling and transportation requirements for the USAP mission. The 2021-2022 ODF season began on August 1, 2021, and will conclude on July 31, 2022, allowing the National Science Foundation’s research teams and partners to operate in the safest weather conditions and best timeframe to accomplish their taskings.