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Category: 446th Airlfit Wing


South Sound airmen honored for high-pressure medical flight to Antarctica

A risky flight to Antarctica under a tight deadline earned three South Sound reserve airmen commendations Friday for the roles they played in getting medical care to an ailing contractor at a science station on the icy continent last month.

They received the Air Medal, which recognizes “meritorious achievement” in flight, from Air Force Gen. Raymond Johns Jr.

Their June 30 flight from Christchurch, New Zealand to Antarctica’s McMurdo Station caught the attention of Air Force leaders because it involved flying under exceptionally difficult circumstances while providing medical care to the contractor.

The airmen have been restrained in describing their

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Latest C-17 Globemaster joins fleet at Lewis-McChord

A $200 million flying machine joined the fleet of C-17 Globemasters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week, and it could be one of the last new additions to the 62nd Airlift Wing.

The plane, called “The Spirit of the Medal of Honor,” is among about 55 C-17s at Lewis-McChord flying with the 62nd Airlift Wing and the 446th Reserve Airlift Wing. It’s the Air Force’s 211th C-17.

The Air Force will have 223 C-17s when it completes its current contracts with Boeing, according to Pentagon budget requests.

Airmen fly the C-17s worldwide out of Lewis-McChord, delivering supplies to

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JBLM crew evacuates sick contractor from Antarctica science mission

(U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. David Herndon) Maj. Aaron Fields and Maj. Alane Garlisi prepare to off-load a National Science Foundation contractor aboard a C-17 Globemaster III, following a medical evacuation mission from McMurdo Station Antarctica.


A crew of Joint Base Lewis-McChord airmen last week made an unscheduled and risky flight to Antarctica to evacuate an ailing contractor.

Lewis-McChord regularly sends crews to Antarctica for Operation Deep Freeze, a mission that calls on the Air Force to supply researchers and scientists at McMurdo Station. They call the

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JBLM’s reserve airmen to get a new commander

The Air Force today named a new commander for Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s reserve air wing, tapping a colonel with a 30-year Air Force career behind him to lead 2,100 reserve airmen here.

Col. Bruce Bowers is to take command of the 446th Airlift Wing at a July 9 ceremony. He’ll succeed Col. William Flanigan, who has led the air wing since September 2007.

Bowers is coming from a post at the Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Bace, Ga. Flanigan’s heading to a different position at the same air base.

“Working here didn’t feel like work,” Flanigan told

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Changes at the top for Lewis-McChord Air Force and medical units

Summer will bring a few new commanders to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today announced that the top medical officer stationed at the base would move on to the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Maj. Gen. Philip Volpe currently leads the Western Region Army Medical Command, which oversees Army hospitals in 20 states. Its headquarters is at Lewis-McChord. Volpe has been stationed there since late 2009.

Volpe is to be succeeded by Brig. Gen. Richard W. Thomas, the Army’s assistant surgeon general for force projection. Thomas has served

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Leno calls the military “the best audience”

Jay Leno learned 20 years ago that military audiences are ready to laugh.

The Tonight Show host said he found that out while performing for about 80 soldiers in front of a tank on a hot day in the desert during Operation Desert Storm.

“I told one joke and these guys just fell down laughing. They probably hadn’t heard a joke in a year,” he said.

Leno touched down on an Air Force runway to perform a free show Saturday night for a much larger military crowd at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Air Force Reserve sponsored the gig, and handed

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Earthquake spares Lewis-McChord airmen assigned to Christchurch

Tuesday’s powerful earthquake in New Zealand struck the take-off point for crews of Joint Base Lewis-McChord airmen stationed there to support scientific research in Antarctica.

Those airmen are safe, but it’s not clear yet if the disaster could delay their regular flights to Antarctica’s McMurdo Station.

“Everyone’s accounted for and there are no injuries. The planes are fine,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jim Masura of the 446th Reserve Airlift Wing by way of an Air Force public affairs officer.

Fifteen airmen from the reserve wing are in Christchurch, New Zealand, the earthquake’s epicenter. They’re paired with a contingent from the

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Greener skies over McChord: Air Force clears C-17 fleet to start using biofuels

The Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes gliding over Tacoma on their way to McChord Air Field might soon give off a faint scent of cooking oil.

The Air Force last week certified the C-17 to fly with a 50-50 blend of jet fuel and biofuels. It’s the first Air Force plane to get the green light to use the blend.

“This marks a significant achievement for the Air Force, our alternative fuel certification office and our partners in both industry and across the Department of Defense,” said Dr. Kevin Geiss, the deputy assistant secretary of the

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