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Appendix can stay for National Guard going to Antarctica remote post mission

By tom On Thursday, October 27 th, 2022 · no Comments · In And more news stories ,News stories ,Writing

By Tom Squitieri
Red Snow News
WASHINGTON –– National Guard air personnel from New York states will deploy to Antarctica over the next four months to support climate research and other scientific activities during the Antarctic summer, in the latest incarnation of Operation Deep Freeze.
And they all will go with their appendix.
The 420 or so Guard personnel do not have to have their appendix removed, which is a usual requirement for long-term missions to Antarctica, because they will be at three very remote locations during what are summer months — meaning they should not be snowed in, officials concluded.
“Our Airmen ARE NOT required to have their appendix removed to deploy to McMurdo Station for our annual support for Operation Deep Freeze,” Eric Durr, Director of Public Affairs, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, said in an email after the Pentagon expressed uncertainty.
Operation Deep Freeze is the code name for a series of U.S. military missions to Antarctica, beginning in 1955–56.
Because of the remoteness of research sites in Antarctica — no one refers to them as bases since military installations are forbidden in Antarctica by treaty — those who work there beyond a short visit are usually required to have wisdom teeth and appendix removed due to the lack of surgical medical facilities.
That is the same rule that applies to astronauts.
The original requirements were established by Navy Seabees, who were the initial U.S. presence in Antarctica post-World War II. The Navy gave up control in 1998, passing the program to the National Science Foundation. Those traveling during Antarctica’s austral summer (between October and February) are analyzed based on their personal health before given the green light.
The Guard personnel are going to “support climate research and other scientific activities during the Antarctic summer” at three science camps – South Pole Station, Western Antarctic ice sheet divide camp and Siple Dome camp— as well as providing airlift between New Zealand and Antarctica, the Pentagon said.
“These activities not only increased the U.S. military’s readiness by operating in extreme conditions, but also enable researchers to safely conduct their important scientific missions, since these very remote locations require the capability of heavy airlift aircraft to deliver needed fuel equipment and supplies,” Brig Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters.
Ryder also said that there is not expected to be any interoperability exercises with allies by the Guard personnel. “For this particular operation, to my knowledge, this is a U.S. National Science Foundation exercise,” Ryder said. “But I do know that the U.S. works very closely, for example, with Australia and New Zealand and a variety of exercises throughout the region.”
Meanwhile, for the first time in three years members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resource are meeting in person with an ease of COVID restrictions.
It comes as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes a rare visit by a world leader to Antarctica, to see firsthand the scientific research taking place and to mark the 65th anniversary of New Zealand’s Scott Base.
Conservationists say new marine protected areas and rules to prevent overfishing are desperately needed, but that Russia could use its veto-like powers to once again block progress. Two of the Commission members — Russia and Ukraine — are at war and relations between China and many Western nations have deteriorated , challenging consensus.
The U.S. is paying more attention to the region under President Biden, and this year has sent a relatively high-level delegation led by Monica Medina, an assistant secretary in the State Department.
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