Transcript

SD Austin Meets With Service Members and Interagency Personnel at Naval Support Activity Bahrain

Sept. 8, 2021
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Hey, good morning. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity just to say -- please, sir, come on up. I think everybody recognizes the commander-in-chief, right? 

Well, we both want to say thanks to this entire team for the tremendous work that you've done in facilitating the transition of about 7,000 evacuees coming out of Kabul, Afghanistan. The way that you came together as an interagency team and a coalition team was remarkably well done, remarkably well done. You did it on short notice. You did it in stride, and you did it in a way that set an example for others to emulate in the future.

I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am, how proud I am of what you've done. You've helped some 7,000 evacuees that passed through Bahrain. You provided them the care and comfort that they deserved on their first stop leaving Afghanistan. And this is a heck of a transition, when you leave your home country and you're going to a place that's unknown. But you helped to reassure them, to provide care for them, and you did it in a very, very professional manner. And the fact that you did it as a combined team of Bahrainis and U.S. forces and the embassy staff -- very, very well done throughout. So you should feel very good about what you've done.

Now, your work was a part of a larger effort where, you know, we evacuated some 124,000 people from Kabul, Afghanistan. That's the largest airlift in our history, and again, it was remarkably well done. The care, the compassion, the professionalism that you exhibited I think it was without peer, nobody can compare to what you've done. 

So on behalf of the President of the United States, I want to say thanks to our teammates in Bahrain. I want to say thanks to all of you sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines that did a great job, and rest assured that the President is very, very grateful for your hard work.

Sir, over to you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

MINISTER ABDULLATIF BIN RASHID ALZAYANI: It gives me great pleasure and honor to thank you on behalf of His Majesty, and the Bahrain defense force for what you have achieved.