Mobility Airmen Evacuate Patient from Antarctica

A C-17 crew from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., evacuated an ailing person from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, according to Pacific Air Forces officials. The late April mission took just 60 hours from the time the C-17 departed McChord until the aircraft delivered the patient from Antarctica to Christchurch, New Zealand, for treatment, according to PACAF’s May 3 release. “This mission was the perfect example of air mobility and global reach at its finest,” said Lt. Col. Brent Keenan, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander. The National Science Foundation requested the evacuation; the US military provides logistical support to the foundation’s scientific research on the barren continent. The C-17 flew from Christchurch to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The flight crew was able to exploit a narrow window of daylight for landing; it took only 35 minutes to transfer the patient onboard, according to the release. The patient received in-flight medical care from aeromedical evacuation personnel and the critical care air transport team while en route to Christchurch. (Hickam report by Capt. Kim Bender)