NSF PR 00-76 - October 17, 2000
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Air National Guard Recognized for Excellence in Support
of Antarctic Research
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan has recognized
the 109th Airlift Wing of New York Air
National Guard for increasing its mission success
rate and for reducing costs of its operations in Antarctica.
The Air Guard provides logistical support to the National
Science Foundation (NSF) for research carried out
under the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP).
Gen. Ryan presented the 109th with the Air
Force's 2000 Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award
The award recognized the 109th, the only
provider of ski-equipped C-130 airlift in the world,
for improving its mission success rate in Antarctica
by 32 percent in 1998-99 as compared with the previous
year; for increasing cargo movement by 4.1 million
pounds in the 1998-99 season as compared to the tonnage
moved in 1995-96; and for providing a projected overall
savings for Antarctic airlift of more than $310 million
over the next 10 years.
The Air Guard assumed the ski airlift mission last
year in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program. The
award was made just weeks before the start of the
2000-2001 Antarctic research season.
Karl Erb, the director of NSF's office of polar programs,
congratulated the unit and said the award was a tangible
recognition of effective support of the USAP. "Our
partnership with the Air Guard is a vital one to the
success of the program, and this award is evidence
that together we can conduct world class science in
one of the world's most challenging environments with
increased efficiency," he noted.
The "tremendous effort" expended by the Air Guard
in assuming the logistical burden of supporting science
in Antarctica, "truly required the best of every individual
in the 109th," Erb added.
Col. Max Della Pia, wing commander of the Schenectady,
NY. based unit, said "this is a tremendous accomplishment
and acknowledges the efforts and decades of experience
of hundreds of outstanding Air Guardsmen and women."
"The award affirms the synergy that has evolved between
the Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve
and program contractors, all under the leadership
of the program's executive agent, the National Science
Foundation. We are honored by the recognition and
excited to play a significant part in such an historic
mission," Della Pia added.
A total of 21 teams were nominated for this year's
award, which recognizes outstanding team performance
and promotes systematic process improvement. The award
also serves as a means to share best practices and
promote mission improvement and cost savings throughout
the Air Force.
NSF, through the USAP, coordinates U.S. scientific
research in the Antarctic. NSF is an independent federal
agency and is the only federal agency whose mission
covers research in all fields of science and engineering.
images, see: http://www.gemini.edu/galactic.html
on adaptive optics see: http://www.gemini.edu/public/adaptive.html
Television editors: B-roll footage is available
from Dena Headlee at NSF(703)292-8070.