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Members of the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing returned home to Scotia, concluding the unit's annual support of US scientific research on Antarctica, according to a wing release. Ski-equipped LC-130 Skibirds from the wing deployed to Antarctica in October and the last of the unit's airmen arrived back home on March 21, states the release. During their nearly five months of activity while operating from McMurdro Station on the barren continent, the airmen completed 310 missions, flying 2,219 hours, transporting 6.4 million pounds of cargo and fuel, and airlifting 3,602 passengers, states the release. "A great deal of hard work goes into planning and executing every deep field mission, but it pays off knowing we are supporting the [research]," said Maj. Joseph DeConno, an LC-130 navigator and chief of current operations. Since the wing began these activities in 1988, its airmen have helped establish more than 100 remote sites in Antarctica for exploration and research, according to the release. In addition to the LC-130s, Air Force C-17s support the Antarctica mission as part of the US military's Operation Deep Freeze.