Jan 6th, 2008 by Nick
Congressman Bob Inglis, a Republican from South Carolina, flew to South Pole last Thursday to see the New South Pole Station, bringing his son, a Raytheon employee working in McMurdo, along for the boondoggle. The DVs returned to McMurdo the same day for a 5:30 wine reception in the Chalet. The DV flight, which was not scheduled until the day before, caused the delay and reorganization of flights to AGAP, a high-profile science project.
At the All-Hands Meeting in the Galley on Saturday, someone asked why an FEMC GA who had no business there was allowed to go to Pole. The response by the presiding manager was this: Inglis initially asked if his son could come to Pole with him. Policy does not typically allow GAs to fly to Pole on tax dollars for any reason besides performing some necessary job. But the next time the Congressman asked if his son could fly to Pole with him, he “was more persuasive”.
Here’s what’s going on: Inglis is on the House Science Committee which has direct influence on the annual NSF budget. NSF buckled and allowed Inglis to bring his son, presently a blue-collar grunt with no travel privileges, on the high-cost boondoggle.
I was working at the Pegasus Runway when Bob Inglis was delivered by helicopter to the C-17, rather than being delivered by the Terra Bus or the shuttles with the rest of the barbarians. We received an email from RPSC management on the day of Inglis’ departure that NSF’s 2008 budget, though approved, had been reduced. Perhaps NSF’s willingness to coddle the clever Congressman will help improve NSF’s budget next year in 2009.
Only time will tell.
photo: Eli Duke