I flew home with the Air Force's 109th Air National Guard unit from Kangerlussuaq to Schenectady, New York. I flew on a C-130 which is a large cargo plane. The plane is not designed for comfort, it is designed for utility. It was missing some creature comforts but it also had some benefits over flying commercial. The plane was either really cold or really – hot there was no middle ground. The seats were a red plasticy material held taught between two bars. The back of the seat was the same except covered in webbing. If the plane is not full, and ours wasn't, you got a chance to spread out. There was no drink service and no peanuts for this flight. I brought my own food and each person was responsible for themselves. We were able to get up and walk around, but there was no where to go. There was cargo down the center of the hull and a bathroom, which is actually just a toilet and a curtain, located in the back of the plane behind the cargo. To get to the toilet one had to climb up one big step to reach it. I was told about the ominous toilet before I got on the flight but it did not truly prepare me for what I was getting into. When I first saw it, I had to laugh. I really enjoyed the flight even thought the plane was loud. We all received a set of earplugs and I had noise canceling headphones so it wasn't bad. It was louder than the P-3 Orion, and talking was not possible over the noise. Most people either slept, read, or watched movies on their computers. Getting into the plane was awkward for me with different straps and boxes all over the floor. I sat in the front and had a box at my feat which I used as a foot rest for the entire flight. It was more comfortable than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed the experience and it is now added to the list of things that I never thought I would ever get a chance to do before I was given the opportunity to participate in this wonderful program.
As I was sitting there waiting for the plane to take off, I saw the P-3 take off and I had to say one final goodbye to it. I told the team that they were not allowed to have any fun without me or to see any amazing sights but they did not listen. The missions continued and I am still following everything that crew is doing. They flew the Southwest Coastal A Mission and it was the third baseline mission in a row, which is amazing for the team. I am proud and happy that I got to be a part of this amazing team. I will continue following them and my new love of ice. I am including some of the pictures for the flight.