Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. -- 94th Airlift Wing Airmen flew missions for Operation Allies Welcome, providing airlift for more than 1,100 Afghan evacuees to U.S. locations in early September.
These airlift missions were part of an effort to provide temporary housing, sustainment, and support inside the U.S for Afghan special visa applicants, their families, and other Afghan personnel.
The passengers were transported from either Dulles International Airport, Virginia, or Philadelphia International Airport to one of three locations: Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; Fort Bliss, Texas; or Camp Atterbury, Indiana, said Maj. Bart Clark, 94th AW pilot and chief of safety.
Overall the Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, will provide the Department of Homeland Security temporary housing, sustainment, and support inside the United States for Afghan personnel. DoD will support at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees by providing transportation, temporary lodging, meals, medical services and other daily needs.
Support for the operation has been fast paced to meet these mission requirements, said Clark.
“We flew daily from September 3rd to September 14th, 14 total missions in total,” added Clark. “Personally, I’ve never taken more than 60 passengers at a time, but we were carrying upwards of 90 people for each flight.”
The 94th Airlift Wing team that supported this mission is very proud of what was accomplished, said Maj. Jonathan Lester, 94th Operations Support Squadron pilot and director of operations.
“Our loadmasters did a good brunt of the work,” said Lester. “They worked with interpreters who had to brief the passengers and assist with them.”
To support the operation, many Reserve Citizen Airmen volunteered time away from their families and full-time civilian commitments to contribute.
“All of us that went, I believe we would have regretted saying, no we can’t help,” added Lester. “This mission definitely validates the importance of what we do.”
This initiative follows through on America’s commitment to Afghan citizens who have helped the United States.