5 October 2007
Cold Summer Beckons For Defence Personnel In Antarctica
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Work during the Antarctic summer season has begun for seven New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel and the No. 40 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
The Kiwi troops arrived at their new home on the ice this week, and the first RNZAF C-130 Hercules flight will be conducted this weekend.
Led by Major Toni Duffield, the NZDF personnel on the ground are spread between Scott and McMurdo Bases and will be carrying out a variety of roles in support of Antarctica New Zealand and the United States Antarctic Programme.
Duties include escorting visiting scientists and dignitaries, assisting with the transport of scientific equipment for research purposes and ensuring supplies at various Antarctic facilities remain well stocked. They also provide support to search and rescue operations on the ice.
No. 40 Squadron will undertake up to six (C130 Hercules) flights prior to Christmas this year, with continued assistance through early 2008. Due to weather conditions some flights are postponed or in some cases at the 'point of safe return' flights turn around and return to Christchurch due to rapid changing weather on the ice.