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NSF Press Release


NSF PR 00-76 - October 17, 2000

Media contacts:

 Peter West

 (703) 292-8070


 Maj. Robert Bullock

 (518) 786-4465

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Air National Guard Recognized for Excellence in Support of Antarctic Research

A ski-equipped LC-130 lands in Antarctica; caption is below.
A ski-equipped New York Air National Guard LC-130 taxies on Williams Field in Antarctica.
Photo Credit: Peter West.

Cargo being unloaded; caption is below.
Pallets of cargo are unloaded from an LC-130.
Photo Credit: Peter West.

 Note About Images

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 in September.

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.


For high-resolution images, see:

For details on adaptive optics see:

Television editors: B-roll footage is available from Dena Headlee at NSF(703)292-8070.



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