Curator’s Corner — Christmas in Antarctica

Crew patch from Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica “XMAS IS CANCELLED” DF 93-94 [U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Collection]

Crew patch from Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica “XMAS IS CANCELLED” DF 93-94 [U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Collection]

Happy Holidays from the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum! In Lieu of the holiday season and the colder weather, I’m sharing a Seabee Patch from Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. The aqua blue colored patch has a picture of the Grinch overlaying the continent of Antarctica with the words “XMAS IS CANCELLED”.

This patched belonged to a member of the Antarctic Development Squadron Six (VXE-6), also known as The Puckered Penguins. This squadron was a U.S. Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron based out of Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California.

Establish on January 1, 1969, the VXE-6 squadron’s mission was to provide aviation support for Operation Deep Freeze, the operational component of the U.S. Antarctic Program. The squadron was disestablished in 1999. VXE-6 moved millions of tons of food, fuel, people and cargo. The crew of VXE-6 flew Lockheed C-130 Hercules which is a four-engine military transport aircraft capable of using contingency runways for takeoff and lands.

Operating under extreme conditions, the Navy Seabees were participants in Operation Deep Freeze from the very beginning in 1955. With the assistance from the VXE-6, the Seabees mission was to provide logistic support, and to build and expand the scientific bases located on the frozen continent. Their operations included: constructing ice runways, snow-compacted roads, underground storage facilities, laboratories, and living quarters. They successfully completed every mission assigned to them with their “CAN DO” attitudes. The Seabees also constructed Antarctica’s first nuclear power plant at McMurdo Station. The original control panel for the nuclear power plant is on display at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum.

Although the patch says “XMAS IS CANCELLED”, the Seabees were still participated in Christmas activities while stationed at Antarctica. Christmas trees were flown in, feasts were cooked, gifts were exchanged, and Christmas services were held —bringing Christmas to the South Pole.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!Xmas antarctica

Robyn King, curator

Robyn King, curator

Meet the Curator: Robyn King Robyn King earned her Bachelors in History and Anthropology from the State University of New York at Oneonta. She has experience working at State Museums, Historic Sites, the National Parks Service, and most recently the Navy. She’s an expert in collection management, and has worked closely with both natural and cultural collections. Robyn loves all museums and sharing her love of history. When’s she not working, she’s volunteering her time with the National Peace Corps Association, as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from West Africa.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s