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Antarctic rescue saves seven

Area 109th Air Wing crew evacuate burned fishermen

Major Josh Neilson, left, and Tech Sgt. Randy Powell, of the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing stand in front of the LC-130 used to evacuate seven badly burned fishermen.

Major Josh Neilson, left, and Tech Sgt. Randy Powell, of the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing stand in front of the LC-130 used to evacuate seven badly burned fishermen. Submitted photo

— The 109th Airlift Wing, based out of Stratton Air National Guard Base in Glenville, flies the only ski-equipped aircraft in the United States military. The unit provides logistics support for research efforts in Antarctica and Greenland.

The 109th crewmembers have been involved in previous rescue missions.

In 2008, the 109th transported an Australian Antarctica Division employee from Antarctica to Hobart, Australia, after the researcher suffered multiple fractures to his leg. In 1999, the crew landed at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to pick up Dr. Jerri Nielsen, who was treating herself for breast cancer, which involved an early spring landing.

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