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European Command Processing, Transporting Afghan Evacuees to U.S.

Sept. 2, 2021 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

U.S. European Command is processing and transporting thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan to the United States and this process will become more intense in the coming days, Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, the commander of U.S. European Command, told Pentagon reporters via video teleconference.

Thousands of service members in Europe are working tirelessly to process the evacuees and transport them safely to America. 

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U.S. European Command has received 155 inbound flights since August 20 and have handled 38,000 Afghan evacuees," Wolters said. "On the ground at this very moment, we have 12,000 Afghan evacuees at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, 5,000 evacuees in Rhine Ordnance Barracks in Germany, 2,500 evacuees and Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy and 1,800 Afghan evacuees at Naval Station Rota in Spain," he said. 

The operations in Europe have become more efficient as the exercise moves on with service members processing up to 250 people per hour – up from 30 per hour. 

person at lectern in briefing room with seated reporters
Pentagon Briefing
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby and Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command, brief reporters at the Pentagon, Sept. 2, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 210902-D-XI929-1010

Since Aug. 20, 14,500 evacuees have been transported  from Ramstein, 1,500 from Sigonella and about 500 from Rota. The general thanked America's German, Italian and Spanish allies for their cooperation in the effort.

The U.S. service members in Europe are doing this in addition to their main mission to protect the sovereignty and liberty of the continent, Wolters said. 

person on screen and person at lectern in briefing room.
Briefing Moment
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby and Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command, brief reporters at the Pentagon, Sept. 2, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 210902-D-XI929-1001

Wolters had a special shout-out to the thousands of volunteers who spontaneously rose up to assist with the evacuation efforts. He said the first day of the airlift, there were about 30 volunteers. That has swelled to thousands across Europe "who are doing everything from helping with food items, helping with clothing, serving as counselors, helping to organize, serving in assisting with security. They are tremendous force multipliers for us."