Dyess Air Force Base, Texas --
The whole-of-government effort to transport Afghan evacuees from the Middle East to select military installations around the country, known as Operation Allies Welcome, has required adaptability and concerted effort at the local, state and federal levels.
Operation Allies Welcome is the initiative approved by the Secretary of Defense to support the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through U.S. Northern Command, to provide temporary housing, sustainment, and support inside the United States for Afghan personnel.
While other military installations have been tasked with providing housing, members of the 317th Airlift Wing, here, have been called to support the transportation and mobility aspect of the OAW mission. As the host unit of Dyess, the 7th Bomb Wing also responded to meet the needs of the humanitarian effort, all while maintaining routine mission readiness.
“Dyess Air Force Base is supporting U.S. Northern Command and the Department of Defense with base support functions aligned with this mission," says U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th Bomb Wing commander.
U.S. Air Force Col. James "Greg" Young, 317th AW commander, affirms the C-130J role in delivering aid to the government effort.
“The 317th Airlift Wing is proud to join our partners from the 19th Air Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base Arkansas, and the total force in support of Air Mobility Command’s historic mission to deliver hope on behalf of the American people,” Young said. “Our mobility airmen are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Afghans who supported the Joint Force during our Nation’s longest war.”
According to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Chris Coffman, 317th AW director of operations, Dyess has been highlighted for best practices in this operation. He said they were recognized for the crew and maintenance actions in keeping aircraft clean and being able to quick turn back into the air lift mission.
Coffman noted cleanliness has been a key aspect of the considerations they took into carrying out Operation Allies Welcome. In addition to the Department of Defense’s adherence to department-wide public health protection measures, members transported a variety of sanitary supplies to provide to the Afghans. Items gathered and packed in support of OAW from Dyess AFB included cases of water, diapers, feminine products, wipes, and rubber gloves.
“These materials allowed us to accommodate the needs of the evacuees in an uncertain position,” Coffman says. “By providing these materials and transporting them to our Afghan allies, we provide comfort to individuals that have supported our members abroad for the last 20 years as they begin the next step of their journey. This allows our partners at the Department of Homeland security with reserve supplies as they lead the temporary housing, sustainment, and processing of individuals at their respective destinations.”
“Team Dyess’s agile support for this national effort demonstrates our readiness,” says Kramer. “From the operational response of 7 Logistics Readiness Squadron, Air Traffic Control, Airfield Management, to the generous support from Airmen, families, and the City of Abilene.” He added, “Our Airmen, families, and community can be proud of our role in this national effort,”
Additional DoD imagery of Operation Allies Welcome can be found at the DVIDS site: https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/OAR.