Scott sends Air Force crew to rescue injured military personnel in Africa

News-DemocratDecember 23, 2013 


A sign welcomes visitors through the Belleville Gate entrance at Scott Air Force Base.


A C-17 transport crew guided by Scott Air Force Base has helped to provide aid to four military members who were injured while trying to help U.S. citizens evacuate from South Sudan.

The wounded service members were part of a group of three CV-22 Ospreys which were approaching the town of Bor, South Sudan, on a U.S. State Department mission to evacuate non-combatants. The Ospreys were hit by small arms fire from the ground, the Air Force said.

The Ospreys, hybrid aircraft that can tilt their propellers to fly like either or traditional fixed wing aircraft or a helicopter, were directed to Entebbe, Uganda, where a C-17 transport plane with the 18th Air Force was getting ready to take off on a mission. The C-17 was stopped on the taxi way and, while it's engines idled, the wounded were loaded onboard. The C-17 took off minutes later on its way to Jomo Kenyetta Hospital in Nairobi.

The C-17 is waiting in Kenya for the service members to be stabilized to the point that they can be flown to Germany for further care, according to the Air Force.

The 18th Air Force, based at Scott Air Force Base, is part of the Air Mobility Command and is responsible for the Air Force's transport operations. It coordinates supply missions and medical evacuations, among other missions, all over the globe.

About 100 American citizens are believed to be in South Sudan where increasing violence has caused fears of an all-out civil war.

As of Monday the United States was said to be considering sending about 150 Marines to try to protect American citizens as well as the U.S. embassy there.

According to news reports, of the four service people injured, at least one of them was believed to be seriously hurt and required surgery. But U.S. leaders said all four of the wounded were able to speak to their families and are expected to survive.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at or call 239-2626.

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