FORT LEE, Va. - Operation Allies Refuge was a U.S. Department of State led mission that support relocations of interested and eligible Afghan nationals and their families who supported the U.S. Government during the war in Afghanistan.
Task Force Eagle, the task force assembled at Fort Lee to execute OAR, remains part of the renamed Operation Allies Welcome, led by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for up to 50,000 Afghan evacuees at military facilities across the country.
This initiative provides Afghans evacuees essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan. Task Force Eagle is an integral part of the process.
“What a great mission,” said Army Sgt. Maj. Mark D. Lewis, the Non-Commissioned Officer for operations for the Task Force Eagle. “I’m proud to be a part of taking care of these individuals that put their lives on the line in order to support us.
Lewis had significant experience in working alongside Afghans when he was deployed to Afghanistan.
Fort Lee was initially identified by the Army as an east coast location that could quickly be utilized to provide temporary housing for an initial 3,500 Afghans and their families to finish administrative checks and undergo the necessary medical exams to qualify for SIV.
Task Force eagle consists of more than 400 personnel from U.S. Department of State, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other Government and Non-Governmental Organization partners. The task force coordinates the U.S. Government’s efforts to take SIV applicants out of harm’s way and, if qualified, bring them to the United States once their security vetting is complete.
U.S. Army personnel attached to the task force comes from all of its components and skill sets. Task Force members consist of individuals from: medical, religious services, culinary specialists, and logisticians.
Upon their arrival at the airport, SIVs are greeted by members of the U.S. Department of State and Non-Government Organizations with interpreters that assist with their initial processing at the port of entry. Upon completion, they families are directed to assigned bus that transports them to Fort Lee.