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Salute Magazine honors 109th Airlift Wing

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (SALUTE MAGAZINE) -- It is no easy task every year to determine which of our Units of the Month deserve the recognition of being named our Unit of the Year. So much is sacrificed by every branch of our military every day, on the front lines and behind the scenes, making it difficult to select only one.

This year was no exception. After careful consideration, we chose the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing, located in Scotia, New York, for its environmental commitment and continual support for American Antarctic research.

This year brought a lot of firsts for the crews. Deployed aircraft supported the National Science Foundation's Western Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core project, which involves drilling ice cores to establish a climate and greenhouse gas history for the southern hemisphere. The 109th also supported the Australians Casey Antarctic Station on Wilke Island for the first time.

The 109th Airlift Wing is the only unit in the United States military equipped with ski landing gear and has provided airlift support for the National Science Foundation's South Pole research since 1988. Since 1999, the unit has been the sole provider of this type of airlift to the National Science Foundation and United States Antarctic research efforts.

It is our distinct pleasure to announce that for their outstanding work in supporting American Antarctic research, Salute names the members of the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing its Unit of the Year. The unit will receive an engraved trophy, sponsored by Geico, and, as always, our heartfelt gratitude for all they do in serving the United States.