SCOTIA, N.Y. (AP) — Members of an Air National Guard unit based in upstate New York have departed for the 30th season of supporting U.S. scientific missions at the South Pole.

Two LC-130s took off early Tuesday morning from Schenectady County's Stratton Air National Guard Base, home of the 109th Airlift Wing. The first flight of the season departed from the base last Friday.

Other crews will follow as the unit gears up for its annual Operation Deep Freeze to support McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

The 109th, the only unit in the U.S. military to fly ski-equipped aircraft, provides logistical support to the National Science Foundation's Antarctic research program. Over the next few months hundreds of airmen will transport scientists, fuel, medical supplies and other cargo during missions on the frozen continent.