Alaska Air National Guard unit helps evacuate 1,700 people from war-torn Afghanistan

A large plane is parked on a runway at night.
A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster lll carrying Afghanistan evacuees arrives at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Aug. 22, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. William Chockey)

The U.S. evacuation in Afghanistan that ended Monday got some help over the past few weeks from an Alaska National Guard unit based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. 

An Alaska Air National Guard spokesperson says the Guard’s 176th Wing provided two big C-17 cargo planes and four aircrews to help U.S. forces evacuate Americans and others from Afghanistan.

The spokesperson says an additional aircrew left J-BER over the weekend.

An Air National Guard news release said the two C-17s are assigned to the Alaska Air National Guard’s 144th Airlift Squadron that’s also based at JBER. The crews include both Guard members and active-duty military personnel from another JBER based unit, the 517th Airlift Squadron.

The news release said Alaska-based crews had helped evacuate about 1,700 people from Afghanistan as of Friday morning. And it says a total of about 111,000 have been transported from the region since U.S. and coalition forces began the evacuation.

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Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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