Press Release

Operation DEEP FREEZE 2011 – 2012 begins

By SpaceRef Editor
August 28, 2011
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Operation DEEP FREEZE 2011 – 2012 begins

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI — Operation Deep Freeze 2011-2012 late winter flights, known as WINFLY, began August 20 when a C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa., began delivering passengers and cargo to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in support of the United States Antarctic Program. Scientists and support personnel at the station will start pre-summer projects, augment maintenance personnel and prepare skiways, ice runways and an ice pier.

The airlift part of Operation Deep Freeze operates from two primary locations with C-17s situated at Christchurch, New Zealand and LC-130s forward based at McMurdo Station, Antarctica beginning in late October. Deep Freeze is a joint service, inter-agency activity that supports the National Science Foundation (NSF), which manages the United States Antarctic Program.

The operation year is divided into three main phases–WINFLY, which is currently ongoing, followed by the main summer season and finally the winter phase. WINFLY is the preparation phase between winter and summer when additional support personnel arrive to prepare the station for the upcoming science field season.

NSF manages the U.S. Antarctic Program through which it coordinates all U.S. scientific research on the southernmost continent and aboard ships in the Southern Ocean as well as related logistics support.”WINFLY missions are important for Total Force C-17 crews,” said Lieutenant Col. Edward Vaughan, Deep Freeze’s interim director of joint operations. “Aside from hauling support passengers and cargo, the National Science Foundation also permits a night vision goggle training mission. This annual training mission ensures that C-17 crews are prepared to execute their mission in Antarctica, year round.”

U.S. military support for Operation Deep Freeze is a Pacific Command responsibility organized as Joint Task Force – Support Forces Antarctica. The Joint Task Force includes cargo and fuel tanker ships provided by Military Sealift Command, active duty and Reserve C-17 support from the 62d and 446th Airlift Wings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa., ski-equipped LC-130 Skibird aircraft flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard, as well as Coast Guard icebreakers and the Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One to provide critical port services at McMurdo Station.

The support Operation Deep Freeze provides to the United States Antarctic Program is unlike any other U.S. military operation. It is possibly the military’s most difficult peacetime mission 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 annual support to U.S. Antarctic research since Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd began such operations in 1955.

Lieutenant General Stanley T. Kresge, Commander, 13th Air Force, is dual-hatted as Commander, Joint Task Force – Support Forces Antarctica, based at Joint Base Pearl-Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Joint Task Force’s main summer season in Antarctica is slated to begin on 28 September 2011.

For more information on Operation Deep Freeze, contact Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica Public Affairs at 808-449-7985 or e-mail To learn more about the U.S. Antarctic Program, visit the official website at

Related Links

* Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica

* U.S. Antarctic Program

SpaceRef staff editor.