Military unit trains for aeromedical evacuations

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AP) -- Whenever and wherever wounded members of the military need a medical evacuation, they could find themselves flying with a C-17 crew from Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Seattle.

Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units support nearly nine out of 10 aeromedical evacuation missions. One of those units is the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Lewis-McChord. Its members took some reporters and photographers along on a training flight Wednesday.

Lewis-McChord has the Air Force's second-largest fleet of C-17 cargo planes. About 2,900 airmen are assigned to the active duty wing, and another 2,300 reservists are based at McChord Air Field.

The U.S. defense budget calls for a reduction of eight planes, but Lewis-McChord will still have about one-fifth of the Air Force fleet of 213 C-17 jets.

Here are some photographs from the training flight.

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