Aircrews from Little Rock Air Force Base took part in Operation Allies Welcome.
The 19th Airlift Wing flew 16 missions, providing transport for more than 2,300 Afghan refugees.
Not only did they move thousands of Afghan refugees to safe places, but they also moved nearly 18,000 pounds of cargo — including donated supplies like diapers, food, and other things the evacuees need to start their new lives.
Capt. Daniel Fresella and SSgt. Deondre Rogers at Little Rock Air Force Base are a part of history.
“What we did for these refugees coming back, I feel like we gave them a new home,” said Capt. Fresella.
They’re just two members of Operation Allies Welcome, tasked with flying Afghan refugees from Virginia and Pennsylvania to locations approved by the Department of Defense.
“And then once we left it was complete focus,” Capt. Fresella said. “We were trying to accomplish the mission as efficiently and safely as possible.”
SSgt. Rogers was responsible for the passengers in the back of the plane.
“You could also see the anxiety in the parents’ faces as they’re trying to take care of their kids going to a place that they’ve never been before,” SSgt. Rogers said. “Like, where are we going? Is it going to be a comfortable ride? Is it not going to be a comfortable ride?”
“This has been an impactful moment in history, so to bring all that to a resolution and to be a part of it, really meant a lot,” Capt. Fresella said.
In the moment, for the crews, it’s just another day at the office. But in the quiet moments is when it all sinks in.
“When you take that time to settle down and think about the impact and like what you’re doing, that’s when it really starts to kick in,” SSgt. Rogers said. “That is always going to have one of the greatest impacts on me as a person.”
This mission, they say, is an example of people coming together to make lives better for those in need.
One of those 16 missions was also supported the 913th Airlift Group, an Air Force Reserves unit at LRAFB. They transported 133 passengers.