We all wish you well mam and Godspeed from the old penguins. Let us know if we can help out...C'mon fellas, some pen thoughts pls...


News Event 7-99, Can't fly into Antarctic in winter.. Strictly Routine for Air Force and a few comments from real live Petes that have been there...

South Pole Researcher To Get Aid........ The Associated Press

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) - A bundle of medical supplies hurtled toward the South Pole today aboard an Air Force jet, set to be dropped this weekend to a researcher who has discovered a lump in her breast but can't get away from the bottom of the world until at least October. The 19-member Air Force crew is due to arrive Saturday at the final jump-off point in New Zealand. It's the dead of winter at the South Pole, with constant darkness, temperatures as low as 80 degrees below zero and winds of more than 60 mph. A landing to evacuate the woman from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station would be impossible, U.S. military officials say. The crew is scheduled to leave New Zealand on Sunday. After an eight-hour flight over the Southern Ocean, the Starlifter will skim the frozen continent just 1,000 feet above the polar surface. The crew will wear special clothes to protect them against subfreezing temperatures and oxygen masks to protect them from the thin air of the ice surface, which is 10,000 feet above sea level. When they open up a side door of the Starlifter, they will be buffeted by icy winds as the plane flies 200 mph. The crew will have to find the drop point in midwinter's permanent night, and shove pallets of medication and diagnostic equipment out the door before dwindling fuel supplies force the plane to turn around for the trip back to Christchurch. The 47-year-old woman, whose name was not disclosed, works for Antarctic Support Services, a company that provides services for the National Science Foundation station. Company spokeswoman Valerie Carroll and others familiar with the mission would not give details of the woman's job or say whether the lump is cancerous. Ms. Carroll said that the woman had undergone a battery of tests with the base physician, including X-rays and a biopsy, and that the results were sent to doctors in the United States. She said the woman underwent rigorous physical exams before leaving in November for a yearlong stint at the station, and would not have been allowed to go in ill health. The station is 838 miles from the nearest people, at another research station. The station is comprised of laboratories and living quarters and covered by a geodesic dome; 31 men and 10 women are there this winter. Ms. Carroll said she did not know the cost of the Air Force mission, but called it ``significant. The supplies are being transported halfway around the world,'' she said. She said the drop would also include ``as much fresh food and mail to them as we can.'' Col. Richard Saburro, commander of Operation Deepfreeze, the U.S. Antarctic Program's air support unit, said today the wind chill in the plane's cargo area would be extreme. The plane's big rear door won't be opened for the airdrop, because of fears its hydraulic fluids will freeze in the extreme cold wind-shear conditions. ``If they opened the rear door and couldn't close it, they'd have the problem all the way back to Christchurch,'' Saburro told The Associated Press. ``Malfunctions are more likely to happen in these extreme temperatures.'' The planes, the Starlifter from McChord Air Force Base, 40 miles south of Seattle, and a KC-10 aerial tanker from Travis Air Force Base in California, are due to reach Christchurch early tomorrow morning. The takeoff is due midmorning Sunday, Saburro said. Each leg of the 6,375-mile roundtrip is expected to take about eight hours. The plane will take about half an hour to drop six pallets in two passes, Saburro said. The pallets, marked with strobes and chemical lights, are to be quickly retrieved to prevent the goods from freezing, Saburro said. The Starlifter should be back at Christchurch about 3 a.m. Monday, he said. No midwinter landing has ever been made at the South Pole base, because of the extreme conditions. AP-NY-07-09-99 0543EDT


=== Just a little background - for those not familiar with the now decommissioned, VX-6/VXE-6 Antarctic Development Squadron of the US Navy. Almost sounds like a lead in for the old serial movie "Don Winslow of the Navy". Just something to illustrate the differences between "can-do" and "work-around". The Navy (VX-6, VXE-6) has made a number of mid-winter fly-ins to the Antarctic during June and July during its Antarctic History (1955-1999, squadron was decommissioned in March 99). A few were made during my tenure with VX-6,VXE-6 from April 1965 to July 1970. All the landings were made without incident and the patients were safely evacuated to New Zealand or the US. Night vision equipment was not an option, just steal nerves, superior training, and a "can-do" attitude. Excuses and work-around 'air drops' were not an option. All those were accomplished by VX-6 with old LC-130F Hercs. Hey guys. Remember when the first C-141 came to the "Ice" and made a fly by checking out the runway before making the first landing. We weren't sure they were going to land or not. And the other Air Force flights made to the "Ice" in the '60s, just flying by, dropping mail and returning to New Zealand without landing. The winds were too rough or something. Just think what we had to do without any options using the C-121J, LC-130F/R, and the LC-47/117. Not landing, was definitely not an optional decision. It was pretty hard to make drops and fly-byes when you just have enough fuel for a one-way flight. Visability during the black winter night is always a hazardous problem, just as 'white outs' were during the summer season, and general weather conditions anytime. Who ever said, the Antarctic weather or the continent was 'friendly' to any visitors. Down there, very bad things could happen on the best of days. As many of us know, every individual must keep his head screwed-on right, and be aware of potential hazards constantly. Just like on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Neither the sea nor the Antarctic are very forgiving. There is definitely a different 'mind set' between Naval pilots and their crews, and the Air Force. Landing in a COD, helicopter, jet, or whatever, on the deck of a pitching carrier requires steel nerves and a solid 'can-do' mind set. It is that mind set which has made VX-6/VXE-6 so successful during its existence. What a heritage! It can only be enhanced by folks who say "things can't happen" when they are placed in the circumstances. My hat is off to all those folks who make/made medical emergency mid-winter fly-ins to the Antarctic to evacuate injured personnel.


=== Subject: Antarctica - Winter Fly-in -

Folks, Last night, I read an article, in the Washington Post, titled "Stranded, Sick at South Pole", written by Guy Gugliotta. The short version of this article, which I could not find on the web this morning, is that there is a woman at the Pole with a lump in her breast and the Air Force can not land at the Pole during the Antartic winter, to take her out. The article says that the Air Force will fly a C141 over the Pole and drop medical supplies but will not land. (Please try to access the Post and read the article yourselves.) Three quarters of the article tells about how "severe" the conditions are and mentions the Air Force has never flown in during the winter!!! This article really got my blood pressure up. Here are a few excerpts from the article. "Extreme cold and darkness made it impossible to land aircraft at the station, so today the Air Force planned to send a C-141 Starlifter cargo jet on an emergency mission to airdrop medical supplies to treat the woman until a springtime flight can evacuate her in November." Here is a quote for you Dave. "Communications with the stations were limited by satellite availability, Valarie Carroll said. (Carroll is a rep from the Colo.-based Antarctic Support Associates company - for whom the lady works.) But after the woman found the lump, she and the station's lone doctor had conducted medical consultations in conference telephone calls and by e-mail with doctors "from all over the country."" "Those who spend the winter at the Pole are stuck there between Feburary and October, when ice and snow blow over the runways, and extreme cold cripples aircraft hydraulics, Peter West of NSF said. The temperature at the Pole was minus 82 degrees Fahrenheit at 5 p.m. yesterday, with 12 mph winds according to the foundations Office of Polar Programs" Here is a line for you skipper. "Air Force Capt.Bill Barksdale, spokesman for the McChord-based 62 Airlift wing said, "... It's challenging weather overall." He noted that the 62nd Airlift Wing has been making flights to the Pole for the "last few years," but never during the winter and never in the dark.." "Still, noted West, although the emergency was "unusual and unfortunate," air drops were "something done on a fairly routine basis" in the past, when the wintering researchers demanded fresh vegetables and mail. The Internet, email and better management of foodstuffs had made the flights unnecessary in recent years." (Excuse me, Hey Nick sure wish we knew the Navy was offering "pizza and mail delivery" when we wintered over in '65-66. The only reason we got fresh veggies during that winter was because we did have a fly in, in June '66, to get a guy out of Byrd station.) The last line of the article reads, "Beyond the sort of drama inherent in Antartica," West said, "the airdrop is the only way you can get anything there." Now gentleman - let your blood boil!!!!! I've called the writer of the article and left my phone number on his voice mail. I'm not disputing the woman's condition, obviously, all I want to get straight is the Navy as usual has "been there and done it - numerous times." And all you guys made it happen. But we can all rest easier - the Air Force has it under control!!

=== re: "Stranded, Sick at South Pole."

It was a great article but unfortunately you wrote what you were told, which is not the entire truth. I am not questioning the condition of the woman of your story or the expense that would be undertaken to get the woman out of Antartica. I just want you to know "the rest of the story" that you were not told. As you stated, The Air Force has only been in charge of the military flights to Antartica for the past few years. Before the Air Force took over, the U.S. Navy had been flying in and out of Antartica from 1955 with a squadron called Antarctic Development Squadron 6 (VX-6 or VXE-6.) During that time, they have made at least two and possibly three mid winter flights into Antartica. The first one happened on April 1, 1961 to rescue a seriously ill Russian scientist from Byrd Station. The second time was in June/July of 1966, to evacuate a member of the team at McMurdo station. The other one I am not sure of the circumstances. The reason I am familiar with the squadron and the fly-in of 1966 was because I was in the outfit and wintering over in Antartica in 1966 and helped to get McMurdo station ready for the flight to arrive there before continuing on to Byrd. As of end of March 1999 the Navy decommissioned VX-6/VXE-6. It was last stationed in NAS Pt. Mugu, California. If you are interested, I'm sure you can get more information from the U.S. Navy. A very short article was written about the outfit in Naval Aviation News July-August 1998 by Noel Gillespie. That magazine is published out of the Washington Navy Yard. Thanks for your time. If you would like to talk to me about this, please give me a call. ...


Our night vision and whiteout goggles were "keep your eyes on the radar altimeter  till it hits between 50 to 200 ft...feel for the ski touching and pull the power off".....Been hearing the WHIMPERING about how the Bosnia situation has stressed out the poor yokels having to fly daily sorties over Kosovo. I never heard any Navy crews complain and bitch about flying in Korea, Vietnam or anywhere.....But I guess I'll just have to sleep with one eye open from now on.....Regards..

===Take a look in the old books.

I was on two winter medivacs in one year, one to Byrd. My night vision goggles were the infrared kind caused by McWilliams Royal Reserve Port bought at the Excelsior on our way down. I ain't sayin' it was cold at Byrd, but one of my balls shrunk to the size of a BB and the other was just a little bitty SOB.

Can anyone tell me what the temperature was at Byrd
when we landed to pick up the scientist, winter of 66?
I had to service the blown nose strut and I nearly
got cold.         Pigmy

=== Hey guys - -
I can still get a helo ready for support at Mac town and shuttle the crews
from the Hill to the strip.   Larry Lister  (rotorhead)

===Re: Lets go
OK, muster me in till our AF brothers straighten up.
The bubble sextant is washed out and we got last years Nautical Almanac, just need to find the time tick and the charts.. Plenty hams to keep us in comms ( even CW ones ).. Who needs GPS, SatCom and Mattell toys,    geeee,  AF Ken ( from Barbie and Ken ) ain't lookin that great right now but hope he gets the job done anyway.
Ain't sure we wanna be that spoiled..
Wishing her wellness....wire: Pete, samFROcisco,

=== Lets go
Think we got a plane, a pilot, and some other
OAE's ready to go....

Well, I think there are about a thousand or so
guys that served in "6" that could "get it done." I know where 319
is and there is Pigmy, Charlie and a bunch too numerous to name that would go
right now, including yours truly. We always got it done and still can!!!!

Think Capt. Moe is still a-waitin' in his flight suit , Lennie knows where
319 is and just volunteered, Pigmy wasn't very cold the last time, Bob B. and
Charlie S. are ready, think Bob Mc would like to prove a point, Soupy just
bought a pair of night goggles, think I could still change a black box in the
hell hole under the flight deck (or serve drinks and sandwiches).......
Harold and Ken could get the Excelsior ready for us in Chi-Chi.....

And if all else fails and couldn't land, we could just kick Dick S. out the
the back door with the care package....Would know for sure then if it landed
in the right continent..

===I betcha our brother 'Seals' can handle a C141 if it is winterized with a bit of vx6 in the batteries plus a few well thought out jury rigs....

**Y2K update...  Her HMO flew her to the states and proper medical attention and we now have word from the print media that she signed a 6 figure book deal telling of her saga...Thanks to all who helped out..

"WHO YA GONNA CALL ? " >>>>  Ice Busters.....  

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