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Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (left) walks from a LC-130 Hercules with aircrew from the 139th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron during her visit with participants of Operation Deep Freeze, at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Jan. 25, 2015. Air Force courtesy photo.

Seven LC-130 Skibirds of the New York Air National Guard wrapped up the five-month Antarctic summer research support season and returned to Stratton ANGB, N.Y., this week. "We flew over 155 on-continent missions in Antarctica as well as intercontinental missions from New Zealand to Antarctica" since last October, said Lt. Col. Clifford Souza in a Feb. 25 release. The unit's aircraft hauled a total of 2,250 tons of cargo and 3,000 passengers over a total of 241 missions, according to the unit. Unit aircraft also flew nine scanning sorties with the experimental IcePod sensor package to measure ice density and fluctuations. "These were the final tests before the IcePod is fully commissioned," said pilot Maj. Joshua Hicks. "Overall it went very well," he added. A total of 575 Guardsmen rotated to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, maintaining a 120-strong contingent on the continent. The first aircraft returned Feb. 23.