A C-17 from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., landed at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, for the first re-supply flight of Operation Deep Freeze’s 2011-12 summer field season. Staged from Christchurch, New Zealand, the C-17 overflew the city’s iconic cathedral—damaged in a devastating earthquake in February—during its Oct. 4 flight as a salute to the lives lost in the tragedy, reported the Antarctic Sun. Weather permitting, the Air Force plans a total of 63 C-17 sorties to McMurdo this season. The New York Air National Guard’s ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules are scheduled to arrive at the beginning of November to begin shuttling personnel and supplies between McMurdo and the South Pole. Deep Freeze is the US military’s logistical support of US scientific research on the barren continent. The Antarctic 2011-12 summer field season runs through February. (See also Christchurch City Council release.)
Gen. Mark A. Milley handed over his responsibilities as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the nation’s top military officer—to Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. on a gray Sept. 29 morning, marking a milestone in a turbulent era of U.S. defense policy.