JBLM Rescue Crew Flies Cargo Plane 4,600 Miles to Rescue Sick Contractor in Antarctica

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How's this for medical benefits?

Utilizing night-vision equipment and navigating around volcanic ash hazards, a C-17 Globemaster III and crew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, alongside aeromedical evacuation and Critical Care Air Transport Team Airmen, successfully evacuated an ailing Antarctic government contractor June 30.

That's from a report put out by the Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs.

Apparently a contracted worker got sick at the bottom of the world, and a team of rescuers flew all the way from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle, to pick him up at the McMurdo science station in Antarctica.

The commander heading the mission, Lt. Col. Robert Wellington of the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, is quoted as saying that operations like this have become "routine."

"Flying into Antarctica is always a challenge, though we have the training and experience to make operations such as this one routine," said Lt. Col. Robert Wellington, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander, permanently stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "Use of night-vision goggles is a core competency of C-17 crew members, and by developing and refining procedures over the last four years we were able to successfully our mission in a dark, Arctic environment."

A spokesperson at JBLM didn't know offhand the cost of such a long, highly technical rescue operation, but is looking. We'll update as soon as she has an answer.

In related news, here at Seattle Weekly, a team of highly trained editors and writers recently staged a complex operation to locate a sick employee and deliver a get-well card.

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