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News | Feb. 9, 2017

Port Hueneme’s team supports annual Antarctic resupply mission

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Each year, the Preservation, Packaging, Packing and Marking team at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution San Diego, Calif., at Port Hueneme supports Operation Deep Freeze, the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic research mission at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, the logistics hub for NSF’s research mission. Due to the area’s harsh climate, the resupply occurs in January- summertime on the continent- when the ice is at its thinnest.

The Office of Polar Programs manages and initiates NSF funding for basic research and its operational support in the Arctic and Antarctic. Additionally, the NSF supports scientific research and oversees the cooperative efforts of civilian contractors, the military and several federal agencies by coordinating scientific research and related logistical support in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. 

“The US Antarctic research mission has three objectives; expanding the fundamental knowledge of the region, fostering the research of global and regional problems of notable scale, and the utilization of Antarctica as a platform to continually sustain research efforts,” explained DLA Distribution San Diego, at Port Hueneme’s packing supervisor, Michael Sneed. “We work closely with the National Science Foundation’s contracted service provider, Lockheed-Martin, to ensure that cargo is configured adequately to reduce shipping costs and minimize waste at the point of debarkation.”

During this year’s mission, Distribution personnel packaged more than more than 450 containers of construction and packing material, frozen and dry foods, repair parts and lumber. The cargo was loaded onboard the Military Sealift Command-chartered vessel, MV Ocean Giant; and departed Port Hueneme, CA., on Jan. 1.

“It is an exciting mission for DLA Distribution San Diego, Calif’s., Port Hueneme site to be partnered with The NSF’s polar program, as part of the DoD and NSF MOA, in providing preservation, packaging, packing and marking of crucial material that supports the various research stations in Antarctica,” explained DLA Distribution San Diego commander Navy Capt. John Soracco. “I am very proud of our Port Hueneme team in what they do every year to prepare the thousands of items for transport to Antarctica that directly supports the 3,500 people stationed there to fulfill their research and other missions year round.”

When the Ocean Giant returns to Port Hueneme, Calif., in late February, the haul will include a year’s worth of scientific data and ice core samples that will assist the NSF‘s continued study of the Antarctic.