NY Air Guard hosts U.S. Secretary of State and Greenland Primier to LC-130 tour

  • Published
  • By Jaclyn Lyons
  • 109th Airlift Wing

The New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing gave Greenland’s Premier Múte Bourup Egede and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken a close-up look at one of the wing’s LC-130s, which are critical to conducting climate research on the Greenland Ice Cap, on May 20.

Blinken, who was in Reykjavik, Iceland for a meeting of foreign ministers of Arctic nations, took a helicopter tour of Greenland’s ice cap and fjords with the prime minister and then stopped at the Kangerlussuaq, Greenland airport which serves as a home base for the Airmen of the 109th Airlift Wing when they are conducting missions in Greenland.

The visit, a State Department spokesman told WAMC radio was made to highlight the importance of the climate research done in Greenland and the role of the United States in supporting the research.

“It was an opportunity for the secretary to see the good work of the men and women who are part of the New York Air National Guard. And obviously, while they're based in upstate New York, they're doing critically important scientific research to understand why the climate is changing, and what we can do to resolve this crisis,” State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter told WAMC radio.

The wing, based at Stratton Air National Guard Base outside Schenectady, New York, flies the largest ski-equipped aircraft in the world. The planes are used to carry supplies to scientists collecting ice cores and other climate research data in Greenland.

This visit was also the first time Greenland’s new prime minister met with U.S. military personnel.

Maj. Shay Price, a LC-130 navigator, conducted a tour of the aircraft and explained how the 109th supports the United States National Science Foundation through airlift and logistical support.

Greenland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Business, and Climate, Pele Broberg and Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod were also part of the visit.

Greenland is a semi-autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.

Tracy Sheely, a representative from the National Science Foundation, spoke to the group about the National Science Foundation’s operations in Greenland. This includes Summit Station, the only high altitude, high latitude, inland, year‐round observing station in the Arctic.

Then she turned the conversation over to Price.

“I thanked the Government of Greenland for their support of our flight operations and training, as well as thanking the Joint Arctic Command for their continued assistance while in Greenland. Access to the Greenland Ice Cap is critical to training LC-130 crews and support personnel to safely operate in Polar Regions,” Price recalled.

Price went on to explain that 109th aircrews rely on survival training at Raven Camp, a remote location on the Ice Cap, to ensure they can safely operate not only in Greenland, but in Antarctica too.

“LC-130 operations in Greenland not only showcase their critical role in supporting multi-national science efforts, but also ensure our aircraft, crews, and support personnel are fully mission ready for polar operations around the world,” Price said.

Price also thanked the thanked Danish Joint Arctic Command and their staff for their technical assistance over the many years the 109th has operated at Kangerlussuaq.

109th Airlift Wing is home to the Department of Defense's only ski-equipped aircraft, which are configured to land on ice and snow.

The wing's Airmen routinely carry people and supplies for American scientific research being conducted in Antarctica and on the Greenland ice cap.