HomeMediaArticle Display

National Guard helps with massive Afghanistan evacuation

Afghanistan evacuees arrive on a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, crewed by Alaska Air National Guard members from the 144th Airlift Squadron, of the 176th Wing, and active-duty Airmen from the 517th Airlift Squadron, of the 3rd Wing, at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021. U.S. Air Force Airmen are assisting with evacuations of Americans and allied civilian personnel from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan evacuees arrive on a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, crewed by Alaska Air National Guard members from the 144th Airlift Squadron, of the 176th Wing, and active-duty Airmen from the 517th Airlift Squadron, of the 3rd Wing, at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021. U.S. Air Force Airmen are assisting with evacuations of Americans and allied civilian personnel from Afghanistan.

U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, welcome and offer immediate assistance to Afghan evacuees as they arrive at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021. U.S. Army Soldiers continue to work with their U.S. Central Command and Department of State teammates to support Afghanistan evacuation efforts with transportation, security, logistics and medical assistance at locations in Kuwait.

U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, welcome and offer immediate assistance to Afghan evacuees as they arrive at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021. U.S. Army Soldiers continue to work with their U.S. Central Command and Department of State teammates to support Afghanistan evacuation efforts with transportation, security, logistics and medical assistance at locations in Kuwait.

A U.S. Army National Guard Soldier with Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, assists families evacuated from Afghanistan as they arrive at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021. U.S. Army Soldiers continue to work with the U.S. Central Command and the State Department to support Afghanistan evacuation efforts with transportation, security, logistics and medical assistance at locations in Kuwait.

A U.S. Army National Guard Soldier with Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, assists families evacuated from Afghanistan as they arrive at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021. U.S. Army Soldiers continue to work with the U.S. Central Command and the State Department to support Afghanistan evacuation efforts with transportation, security, logistics and medical assistance at locations in Kuwait.

A U.S. Army National Guard Soldier with Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, entertains an Afghan girl with bubbles as she waits to in-process at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021.

A U.S. Army National Guard Soldier with Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, entertains an Afghan girl with bubbles as she waits to in-process at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021.

A U.S. Army National Guard Soldier with Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, plays peekaboo with an Afghan child who recently arrived at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021.

A U.S. Army National Guard Soldier with Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, plays peekaboo with an Afghan child who recently arrived at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Aug. 23, 2021.

Evacuees arrive on a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, August 23, 2021. U.S. Air Force Airmen are assisting with evacuations of Americans and allied civilian personnel from Afghanistan.

Evacuees arrive on a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, August 23, 2021. U.S. Air Force Airmen are assisting with evacuations of Americans and allied civilian personnel from Afghanistan.

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster lll carrying Afghanistan evacuees arrives at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Aug. 22, 2021. NAS Sigonella is supporting the Department of Defense mission to facilitate the safe departure and relocation of U.S. citizens, Special Immigration Visa recipients, and vulnerable Afghan populations from Afghanistan. NAS Sigonella’s strategic location enables U.S, allied, and partner nation forces to deploy and respond as required to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Central Command.

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster lll carrying Afghanistan evacuees arrives at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Aug. 22, 2021. NAS Sigonella is supporting the Department of Defense mission to facilitate the safe departure and relocation of U.S. citizens, Special Immigration Visa recipients, and vulnerable Afghan populations from Afghanistan. NAS Sigonella’s strategic location enables U.S, allied, and partner nation forces to deploy and respond as required to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Central Command.

ARLINGTON, Va. – National Guard Airmen and Soldiers from around the United States are playing a key role in the historic evacuation of tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan.

The Air National Guard is contributing to Operation Allies Refuge with 11 C-17 aircraft and 19 crews providing safe passage to Americans and Afghan allies from Kabul to locations throughout the region. In addition, 11 Air National Guard KC-135s and 22 crews are refueling aircraft over the skies of Afghanistan, while pilotless MQ-9 Reapers watch over Afghanistan from the air.

Five Air Guard squadrons are providing lifesaving aeromedical evacuation. 

Also, 26 Air National Guard C-130 aircraft and 30 crews are providing transport to evacuees within the United States.

By Aug. 24, the massive airlift by the U.S. military, coalition and partners had accelerated to the point that one aircraft was leaving Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul about every 39 minutes.

About 88,000 American citizens, civilian allies, Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and other vulnerable Afghans have been taken out of harm's way since Aug. 14, Army Maj. Gen. William D. "Hank" Taylor said at a Pentagon briefing today. 

During a 24-hour period Aug. 24, he said 42 U.S. military aircraft departed Kabul with 11,200 people and coalition and allied partners flew 7,800 people to safety. Another 10,000 people were at the airport awaiting departure.

"88,000 in the course of just a week, a week and a half is no small feat," Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said at the briefing.

Among those helping transport evacuees is the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing, with two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. The aircraft are assigned to the AKANG's 144th Airlift Squadron based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
 
With the aircraft are three aircrews; one is all ANG (144th AS), one is all active-duty, regular Air Force (517th AS at JBER), and one is a mixed/TFI crew.
 
The 144th AS will have another all-ANG crew joining the effort within the next week.
 
On the ground in Kabul, the Minnesota and Vermont National Guard are helping secure Hamid Karzai International Airport. 

The Minnesota Guard's Task Force 1-194 was positioned to respond because it was mobilized in March to serve as the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Regional Response Force based in Camp Buehring, Kuwait. 

Alongside units from the 82nd Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division, Marine Special Purpose Air Ground Task Force, and Marine Expeditionary Unit, Task Force 1-194 is securing vital sectors of the Kabul airport and providing humanitarian assistance to U.S. citizens, special immigrant visa holders, and their families.

"The Soldiers of Task Force 1-194 were called upon to execute a challenging mission, and they have done so with professionalism," said Army Lt. Col. Jake Helgestad, Task Force 1-194 commander. "They have shown strength, compassion, and resolve despite danger and difficulty."

A small contingent from the Vermont National Guard 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry (Mountain), 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) arrived in Kabul earlier this month to support security operations at Hamid Karzai International Airport. Additional units from 3-172 IN (MTN) support Special Immigration Visa holders processing through locations within U.S. Central Command.

“Our Soldiers from Task Force Avalanche trained and deployed to support their combatant commander in whatever mission they might be assigned,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont’s adjutant general. “While we can’t always predict exactly what that mission may look like, I know our Soldiers are ready and will excel in this important humanitarian mission.”

U.S. Central Command is overseeing the evacuation mission in Kabul. Vulnerable Afghans will stay temporarily at U.S. military bases at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Fort Bliss, Texas; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; and Fort Lee, Virginia, while they finalize their immigration processing. 

Taylor said today that several thousand evacuees had arrived in the United States, with 1,200 landing at Dulles International Airport outside the nation's capital in the previous 24 hours.
---
Lt. Col Candis Olmstead, Alaska National Guard; Capt. Charles Anderson and Capt. Andrea Drost, Minnesota National Guard; and Marcus Tracy, Vermont National Guard, contributed to this story.

Contact Us

ANG Public Affairs does not act as an operator service. They do not have the capability to redirect incoming calls to other offices. Please contact the base operator for these services. For a RECRUITER click HERE.

Base Operator 301-981-1110

ANG Public Affairs
3500 Fetchet Avenue
Joint Base Andrews, MD 20762
Contact Email: NGB.CF.CFXP-ANG.Public.Affairs.Org@us.af.mil

NGB Press Desk
703-601-6767