American Tern Sails in ‘Deep Freeze’

May 2010

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The Seafarers-crewed American Tern capably did its part in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2010, the latest installment of the yearly resupply mission to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Operated by Osprey Ship Management for the U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC), the American Tern arrived at McMurdo on Feb. 1. The vessel then offloaded 734,907 cubic feet of cargo including frozen and dry food stores, building supplies, vehicles, and electronic equipment and parts.

Days earlier, another Seafarers-crewed ship – the USNS Paul Buck – unloaded diesel, gas and jet fuel at the ice pier.

According to MSC, each Antarctic summer since McMurdo Station was established in 1955, an MSC tanker and dry cargo ship – with assistance from an icebreaker – have arrived to deliver the vast majority of the fuel and dry cargo required to sustain personnel on the continent for a year. After the deliveries by sea, the Air Force has then distributed some that cargo by air from McMurdo Station to other remote research locations across the continent. (Seafarers-crewed MSC ships have also transported cargo – ranging from precious ice core samples for research to trash and recyclable materials for disposal – off of the continent.)

Although the annual operation has become distinctively routine, the American Tern’s most recent voyage included a couple of special moments. U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus met with mariners aboard the ship, and a number of crew members received the Antarctica Service Medal from Air Force Col. Paul Sheppard, commander, 13th Air Expeditionary Group, Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica. The medal is given to people who have served at least 10 days on the Antarctic continent in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

SIU crew members aboard the American Tern for Operation Deep Freeze 2010 included Bosun Hernando Bansuelo, ABs Chris Wilson, Ben Skuban, Vincent Hamm, Melody White and David Weeks, GUDEs Osburn Wyche Jr. and Patrick Sapp, OMUs Claude Letts, Peter Dadzie and Randy Wurr, Chief Steward Gregory Broyles, Chief Cook Sherman Harper and SAs Wilma Martinez and Brandy Griffin.

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In photo directly below, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus (second from right) meets with SIU members (from left) Chief Cook Sherman Harper, Chief Steward Gregory Broyles and SA Wilma Martinez aboard the American Tern.

Ray Mabus

Am Tern Ship

Am Tern Ice