US sailors arrive in Antarctica for operation Deep Freeze

Sailors from the U.S. Navy Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB) 1 reached the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station in Antarctica to take part in operation Deep Freeze 2017.

Operation Deep Freeze is the military’s logistical support component of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), the nation’s research program on the southernmost continent.

The annual mission, which NCHB 1 has been participating in for more than 50 years, resupplies the U.S. Antarctic Program’s largest base on the most remote continent.

Prior to arriving in Antarctica, sailors received extreme cold weather gear in Christchurch, New Zealand, to prepare for the mission. With the significant time change — 18 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time — coupled with 24 hours of daylight create challenges for acclimatization.

Sailors have been acclimating to the weather and harsh environmental conditions with physical training and team-building activities, allowing them to settle into a routine and prepare for the start of cargo operations.

One event included a climate acclimatization team hike, in which sailors trekked over three miles on the Ridge Line trail overlooking the McMurdo Sound. Along the way, they stopped at memorial markers commemorating the lives of shipmates who lost their lives while working here in 1956 and 1982, in the promotion of scientific endeavors in the last frontier.

With shipboard operations starting in a few days, NCHB 1 sailors have been busy performing driver training, cargo accountability training, and lending assistance to the camp where needed.

Additionally, sailors have leveraged opportunities to listen to NSF’s Albert P. Crary Science and Engineering Center lectures, which cover a broad range of scientific research initiatives here.

McMurdo’s open house program also provided Sailors the opportunity to visit and tour NASA’s Ground Control Station and radome, which is a critical component for receiving and disseminating orbital satellite data.