109th AW finishes up fifth rotation in Greenland

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Catharine Schmidt
  • 109th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing completed its 24th operational mission to Summit Camp, Greenland, on July 30, and its 13th mission to the East Greenland Ice-core Project (East GRIP) on July 29, in support of the National Science Foundation since the season began in April.

Ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft transported 6,500 pounds of cargo and 2,400 gallons of fuel to East GRIP on the July 29 mission and about 4,700 pounds of cargo and 3,872 gallons of fuel to Summit Camp on July 30. The missions were the final operational missions for the unit’s fifth rotation of the season. Another group will begin the sixth rotation here in mid-August.

The unit, based out of Scotia, New York, deploys here each summer to provide the logistical support needed for the National Science Foundation – transporting cargo, people and fuel to various remote locations on the Greenland ice cap.

“This year the two camps we’re supporting are Summit Camp – a U.S. run facility doing a lot of atmospheric research - and East GRIP which is run by the Danish government and primarily conducts ice core research,” said Maj. Justin Garren, 139th Airlift Squadron Greenland Operations chief.

East GRIP, located 584 miles northeast of Kangerlussuaq, sits about 8,900 feet above sea level.  Summit Camp is a little more than 400 miles northeast of Kangerlussuaq and sits at more than 10,500 feet above sea level.

“These camps are far enough away from the beaten path that if it got there, we brought it,” Garren said. “We’ll bring in the fuel, the food, the people. When the ice cores are ready, we’ll prepare them for shipment and bring them (to the United States) so they can make their way to whichever university is doing the research.”

Marissa Goerke, a science technician at Summit Camp, said the 109th Airlift Wing is vital to keeping the camp going.

“We would not be able to do this without the 109th Airlift Wing,” she said. She said the wing provides them with food, supplies, fuel and even letters from home. “Fuel is very important to get us through the winter and to keep this place running. We appreciate all the help we get.”

The Greenland season lasts about five months and usually comprises about six two-week rotations. On average about 80 Airmen from the Wing and three to four LC-130s deploy each rotation.