NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Joint Base Charleston (JBC) has been playing a major role in the effort to evacuate US citizens, Special Immigrant Visa holders, and vulnerable populations from Afghanistan, serving as a takeoff point for deploying airmen, flying evacuees, and collecting supplies for refugees.
On Wednesday, Joint Base Charleston announced that reservists with the 315th Airlift Wing even helped deliver a baby aboard a JBC C-17.
The Department of Defense says this evacuation operation could be one of the largest in U.S. military history.
“19,000 evacuees are now safely out of Afghanistan within a 24 hour period,” Army Major General William Taylor reported in a Wednesday morning briefing.
He continued, saying “every 39 minutes yesterday a plane departed Kabul airport. These numbers are a testament to the hardworking, brave service members carrying out this mission.”
As the Taliban takeover, many are left in fear for their lives.
JBC is home to one of the largest fleets of C-17’s, putting them to good use for the operation.
“It is our duty to help them. They helped us now we need to help them,” said Governor Henry McMaster when asked if he was willing to resettle Afghan refugees in South Carolina.
Among the chaos were signs of hope, as multiple babies were born on the flights.
“You can well imagine being an air force fighter pilot its my dream to watch that young child called reach, grow into a us citizen and fly a united states air force fighter in our air force,” General Tod Daniel Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command, said during a Wednesday afternoon briefing.
One child born aboard a flight that had just landed at Ramstein airbase in Germany was named “Reach,” a tribute to the C-17’s callsign.
Members of the 315th Airlift Wing from JBC, also helped to deliver a baby mid-flight aboard one of their C-17’s.
Back at home, JBC spouses put together pallets of supplies, sending over 10,000 pounds of food, baby wipes, drinks and hygiene products to assist the Afghan refugees.