A C-17 aircrew from JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., flew the second leg of a harrowing mission to evacuate a researcher in urgent need of medical attention from the Amundsen-Scott South Station at the South Pole. A ski-equipped Turbo DC-3 flew the patient from the South Pole to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, for her transfer to the Globemaster. “The hard part was getting her out of the South Pole,” said C-17 loadmaster CMSgt. James Masura of Air Force Reserve Command’s 446th Operations Group. The Lewis-McChord aircrew, comprised of airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing and AFRC’s 446th AW, shuttled the National Science Foundation contractor to Christchurch, New Zealand, for advanced treatment during the Oct. 17 mission. The woman suffered a likely stroke in August, and has been stranded since by weather, reported the Associated Press (via the UK Daily Mail). While C-17s can airdrop over the pole, they do not have the capability to land there, noted Masura. (McChord-Lewis report by 2nd. Lt. Denise Hauser)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.