August 2011 Airdrop

when the push comes to shove

Yes, this was 29 August 2011...the end of winter, nautical twilight at Pole, and Winfly was underway between Christchurch and McMurdo. So when a shortage of medical supplies developed, a small airdrop was worked into one of the scheduled Winfly cargo/ passenger flights (Antarctic Sun article and Air Force press release).

heave ho

Loading the aircraft in Christchurch...the airdrop packages are in front of this first stack of air pallets. Yes, this is C-17 tail number 88195, operated by the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (EAS).
it's dark outside!
In McMurdo, the passengers and the rest of the cargo were offloaded, and it was time to head south. This was the first airdrop where the crew utilized night vision goggles.
they are coming for the glycol?
About 2045 on the's the view from Pole as the aircraft approached the burn barrels marking the drop zone.
don't drop it
There were 2 packages dropped, here is another shot of the first one going out the door.
I see the light
The aircraft lights and strobes produce an amazing time exposure.
orange blossom special

Here's the second one about ready to go...
look, up in the sky...
it's a's a plane...
Here are 2 more time exposures showing the aircraft flying over the station.
well preserved

At left, inside the LO (logistics facility) John Burkart (left) and Grace Clark unstrap one of the packages. At right, Grace is holding some of the mail (SR).
priority mail 2 day shipping?

Above, some of the receipts...medical supplies, mail, Cat parts...and a few oranges which were apparently contributed by the flight crew. Everything was received in good condition. And a few team members...from left: John Burkart, Grace Clark, and Marco Tortonese (RS).

baggage carts not allowed on the escalator
house call

John making the deliveries. At right he's with Dr. Jim Borden in Medical. (left, RS, right, SR)

Credits and thanks, as well as sources for more information: The photos taken outside on the ground at Pole are all from Robert Schwarz...and they are only 3 of an excellent collection he's put up here. The indoor photos are from Robert Schwarz (RS) and Steffen Richter (SR). The aircraft photos are all official USAF photos, they and many more are posted on the Operation Deep Freeze/Joint Task Force–Support Forces Antarctica Facebook page. Yes, there IS a video, try this link first; if you're not on Facebook it may not work, so you'll need to navigate to it from here.