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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | April 3, 2020

Aircrew members MEDEVAC infant twins during COVID-19

By Staff Sgt. Cary Smith 11th Wing Public Affairs

On March 30, 2020, a C-17 Globemaster III departed from Osan Air Base, South Korea, and landed at its final destination at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland later that same evening.


Onboard were two members with the 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and two NICU personnel with the 18th Medical Group from Kadena Air Base, Japan, along with two Active Duty Army parents and their six-week-old twins.


The medical staff and aircrew members flew approximately 7,000 miles over a 41-hour time period to medically evacuate the twins so they could receive advanced neonatal care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington.


“Our aircrew received the mission two days prior during the return journey from our previous mission,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Lichtsinn, co-pilot with the 535th Airlift Squadron from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. “Change is commonplace in our line of work, so we took the mission and prepared the aircraft for the flight.”


In the back of the C-17, the medical crew configured the aircraft with medical equipment for the flight over the Pacific Ocean.


Once the plane safely arrived at JBA, the family continued their travel to Walter Reed and were admitted into the medical center. Thanks to the quick response of the Air Mobility Command, the newborn babies were able to receive the treatment they needed.


“Air Mobility Command’s airlifters take great pride in hauling massive, outsized cargoes across the globe in support of our Joint Force partners,” the command said in a statement. “However, sometimes it only takes five pounds of precious cargo to generate an all-hands-on-deck effort.”


This flight took place out of South Korea, during a period in which the world has experienced the results of COVID-19 effects. This MEDEVAC mission proved that every life, no matter how small, counts.


“Being new to the team, I have never been on a mission like this and it was great to see all the teams do their part to come together in such a short time,” said Lichtsinn. “It was important for us to do our part and get this family safely to the states, and we did.”