Schumer shows support for 109th AW mission

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Sen. Charles Schumer was here Jan. 3 to tour the base and learn more about the 109th Airlift Wing's unique mission with the National Science Foundation.
Schumer's support for the unit's mission was evident as he vowed to fight to maintain current levels of funding the wing receives through National Science Foundation appropriations. Budget debates in the Senate are certain in the coming months, and Schumer stated that the base is both a local economic resource and national scientific resource worth maintaining.
Schumer's visit was an important step in gaining visibility of the wing's unique mission with political leaders throughout New York. Chuck Steiner, President of the Chamber of Schenectady County and Chairman of the United Military Affairs Council, worked with Sen. Schumer's office to arrange the meeting.
"Senator Schumer's timely visit and tour of the Stratton Air National Guard Base has demonstrated his strong interest and on-going support of the mission of the 109th Airlift Wing, especially as the Senate determines appropriations for the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense", said Steiner.

"We are pleased to have Senator Schumer visit our unit today and learn more about our mission with the National Science Foundation," said Col. Shawn Clouthier, 109th AW commander. "We have a unique mission here, and his support, along with other community leaders, is greatly appreciated. While our mission and unit remain strong, the support from our legislators is imperative because of the fiscal uncertainty."

Joining Schumer for the tour were Chuck Steiner, Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce president, Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, New York Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Verle Johnston, Commander of the New York Air National Guard, and Brig. Gen. Anthony German, Chief of Staff of the New York Air National Guard.

The 109th AW's mission is to train, equip and deploy premier Airmen with proven polar and combat capabilities, supporting national objectives around the world and responding to homeland threats. The unit employs the Department of Defense's only ski-equipped aircraft to conduct operations in remote polar regions, which include Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica, and Operation Raven Dew in Greenland.

The unit currently has Airmen deployed to Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom as well as Antarctica, supporting Operation Deep Freeze. The wing kicked off its 26th season supporting ODF in October.