James' exciting time on the ice

26 October 2021

Christchurch-based Heavy Diesel Field Service Technician James Swainson has just returned from the ice after working there since late August. He has been supporting the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

James has been hard at work in the Vehicle Maintenance Facility. He helped the team with training and labour until a C9.3 engine arrived from the Component Rebuild Centre in Christchurch for him to complete an engine swap on a Cat D7E LGP track type tractor. This is one of the two models used for air support runway maintenance at the station.

“Yes, we were working hard, but we got the perks of other things too. I’ve seen some wildlife, such as seals, and done some hikes,” says James.

James says everyone at the station is accommodating and helpful, describing it as “a little community”


“There were around 250 people here in September, and it was expected to rise to 350 for October, but the McMurdo Station can hold over 1500 people,” he says.

“It’s been an unforgettable time down there, and I can’t wait to share my photos, videos and experiences with everyone.”

The USAP is undertaking a large-scale station redevelopment project and employing many Caterpillar machines in the project’s construction phase. Our dealership has supported the USAP with their endeavours since 1957.