Air space closures in Europe have disrupted air-travel for military personnel around the globe including wounded troops being evacuated from Afghanistan.
Landstuhl Hospital in Ramstein, Germany is the usual first-stop for injured soldiers leaving Central Asia. But with Ramstein Air Base now in the middle of the “no fly zone,” with no arrivals or departures for several days, all medical transports have been temporarily diverted to northern Iraq.
Instead, injured warriors are being routed to Balad Air Base where the US Air Force staffs the country’s largest hospital. The reported influx to the base hospital is about 50 patients who will be in Balad less than 24 hours until they can be transported to Walter Reed Hospital.
In another part of the world, at least 200 Oregon Army National Guard soldiers are waylaid in Kuwait. The commercial airlines that contract with the US military are waiting for the skies to clear of volcanic ash so they can fly the soldiers to JB Lewis McChord where they will formally redeploy with the rest of the 41st Infantry Brigade.
Reportedly, stranded service members have put a strain on airport USO facilities around the globe as well, including the USO at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson where a group of soldiers heading towards Europe were also delayed.
Adaptation is a daily occurrence for US forces.
While the Icelandic volcanic ash has proven to be an inconvenience for the military there are no reports of missions that have been scrapped or delayed.
Flights in and out of the strategic Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan have not been influenced by the ash plume.
Barring any further eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull, or changes in the atmospheric conditions, 75% of military and civilian trans-Atlantic flights are scheduled to resume later today.