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  • Thrill Rides from Haiti
    Posted by David A. Fulghum 7:24 PM on Jan 22, 2010

    A lot of U.S. civiliams are getting a rare treat – a combat takeoff in a C-17.

    In addition to a U.S. Air Force crisis response group bringing order to the chaos at Port au Prince airport, the service has “evacuated over 2,000 American citizens [from Haiti],” says Lt. Gen. William Lord, chief of war-fighting integration and chief information officer. “Another 600 are lined up to go.”

    To accomplish that feat, C-17s are being “floor loaded,” he says. “I know from Hurricane Katrina, that it gets exciting. It’s not the normal way – in chairs and strapped in -- that you evacuate people. You put 220 [people] – mostly children – about six across and the C-17 takes off under combat conditions [for a short runway takeoff and to gain altitude quickly].

    “Another critical job was to set up a network web site for the Joint Forward Air Controllers so that they can handle the volume of requests for accurate slot times that allow efficient scheduling for aircraft arrivals and takeoffs. In addition, arrangements have been made with the Army and Marine Corps to police the areas where food is being air dropped, he says. The Pentagon is conducting three high level briefings daily on the latest situation in the disaster area.

    Tags: ar99, Haiti evacuation, C-17

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