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62nd AMXS Airman re-enlists on ice

Tech Sgt. Tara Jackson takes icy oath

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An Airman assigned to the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, currently deployed to Christchurch, New Zealand with the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, took her oath of enlistment while standing on the frozen sea ice at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Nov. 19.

With an American flag and a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft as the backdrop, Tech. Sgt. Tara Jackson, 62nd AMXS instrument and flight control craftsman, who is deployed in support of Operation Deep Freeze, re-enlisted under the hand of Lt. Col. Brent Keenan, 304th EAS commander.

"While re-enlistment ceremonies are conducted all over the world, this event was unique in that it took place on just 81 inches of frozen sea ice over McMurdo Sound," said Keenan.

The ceremony took place while cargo and passengers were being offloaded from the aircraft, on a mission which carried 43 passengers and 61,000 pounds of cargo to McMurdo Station. Additionally, 31 passengers were transported back to Christchurch on the return leg of the mission.

"Immediately after Jackson's re-enlistment, she got right to work refueling the aircraft with 4,600 gallons of fuel needed for the 5-hour flight back to Christchurch," he added.

During this time of year, the McMurdo Sound freezes over with sea ice. However, in less than one month, the current site of the re-enlistment will be nothing but open ocean water.

Photo: Tech. Sgt. Tara Jackson (right), 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron instrument and flight control craftsman, receives the oath of enlistment from Lt. Col. Brent Keenan, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander, Nov. 19, 2012, on the frozen sea ice on McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Jackson, who is deployed with the 304th EAS in Christchurch, New Zealand, took the oath on the frozen runway which is just 81 inches thick.

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