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Team Ellsworth helps Afghan evacuees

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Members from Team Ellsworth participated in Operation Sacred Promise in an effort to help vulnerable Afghans safely evacuate to the United States.

“I’m incredibly proud of the efforts from our 28th Bomb Wing Raider Airmen to assist our Afghan friends and allies,” said Col. Joseph Sheffield, 28th Bomb Wing commander. “Service before self is a core tenant of the Air Force and to see our folks immediately and aggressively find ways to serve and make a difference in countless lives was satisfying.”

The mission of these members was to work from Ellsworth to help ensure a safe transition for Afghan military members, their families, and other vulnerable Afghans by securing them Special Immigrant Visa’s allowing them to come into the U.S.

“I was on the initial team that was notified that help was needed and I started working that night to get people out,” said Tech. Sgt. Dana Long, 28th Maintenance Squadron assistant propulsion flight chief. “After a several hours and hundreds of people reaching out we created ways to funnel, capture and catalog data for the team that spanned 6 squadrons on Ellsworth and two other Air Force bases.”

Long continued by saying her team trained others and relayed information to State Departments, sponsors, and leadership at all levels even translating three different languages to fill out paperwork.

The team worked 24 hours a day going through hundreds of emails, doing everything they could to get as many evacuees approved as quickly and safely as possible.

“The emails we received after we were able to help the refugees were so heart-lifting,” said Senior Airman Noah Wilde, 28th Munitions Squadron armament support member. “I still wish I could do more.”

While the three week mission that began in August for the Ellsworth Raiders is over, the mission for the Air Force continues to ensure the safe evacuation of Afghanistan.

“The 28th Bomb Wing Raiders remain ready to provide long-range strike and a variety of military capabilities…any-time, any-where” said Sheffield. “The administrative and humanitarian assistance our Airmen provided the Afghan refugees highlights our readiness and desire to answer the call at a moment’s notice.”