By Don Branum
Vermont National Guard Public Affairs
Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont’s adjutant general, discussed the Vermont Guard’s support for Operation Allies Refuge, the current effort in Kabul, Afghanistan, to evacuate U.S. personnel and at-risk Afghan civilians from the country, during an interview with NECN Boston Aug. 26.
The Vermont Guard issued a release Aug. 25 confirming that a small number of Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry (Mountain), 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), had arrived in Afghanistan to support the Coalition evacuation efforts.
News of casualties from a suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport sparked concern that Vermont Guard Soldiers may have been among the dead or wounded. Knight said that in the event a Vermont Guardsman were wounded or killed, the Guard has methods in place to quickly and compassionately notify families.
“I’m always concerned for their safety, but I also know our folks are well-trained and well-led,” Knight said. “They’re making a difference the best they can.”
Knight said that while the Soldiers from the 3-172nd are providing security support for the evacuation mission, other Vermont Guard Soldiers currently deployed to locations in U.S. Army Europe, Central and Africa also stand ready to assist.
“Our Soldiers ... trained and deployed to support their combatant commander in whatever mission they might be assigned,” Knight said. “Our Service members remain flexible and adaptable. That’s going to remain the case until the mission is done.”
More than 6,000 Service members are contributing to Operation Allies Refuge, which has evacuated more than 100,000 people from Afghanistan to date. The operation is scheduled to end no later than Aug. 31, ending nearly 20 years of American military operations that began in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Our military did the job we were assigned to do,” Knight said. “We’re doing that now, and we’ll do that until the day we leave.”