April 16th, 2010
08:14 AM ET

Volcanic ash diverts some wounded troops' flights

Medivac flights out of Afghanistan and Iraq are now being re-routed from their usual landing point at Ramstein Air Base in Germany where flight operations are shut down due to the volcano in Iceland, according to several U.S. military officials.

All medivac flights are now being diverted to fly directly to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. Medivac flights generally leave Afghanistan and Iraq and stop at Ramstein where patients are transferred to the U.S. military hospital at Landstuhl for follow-up on trauma care and stabilization.

Officials say at least one medivac flight is now scheduled to land at Andrews on Saturday on a direct flight from the warzone. It will have to be refueled in mid-air because of the long distance involved. Officials say medical care for the wounded will not be impacted by the change.

Earlier, the U.S. Air Force said that two bases in England, RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath, will be shut down for at least two days. That means dozens of U.S. Air Force F-15s and other fighter jets and tankers are not flying, and flights to Iraq and Afghanistan flying through that airspace are being diverted to other routes.

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