CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. — Approximately 800 Fort Hood soldiers traveled to Camp Atterbury, Indiana to help Afghan evacuees as part of Operation Allies Welcome.
The help supports the Department of Defense's agreement to provide transportation, medical screening, temporary housing, sustainment and support to Afghan evacuees.
Staff Sgt. Marshall Dobbs, an infantryman with the 1st Cavalry Division, said experience plays a vital aspect in performing his duties as one of the noncommissioned officers in charge of housing evacuees.
"I understand where they are coming from and during my time in Afghanistan there were missions we went on where the Afghan National Army helped us out tremendously," said Dobbs. "They were a great asset in planning routes, communications with locals, and helping us establish the relationship of goodwill to their people. We couldn't have completed our missions there without them, they played a critical part."
Culture shock is to be expected for the evacuees, and soldiers will remain prepared to aid and provide guidance wherever needed, according to a release.
"Roughly 970 of our guests are housed in my area and they can bring any issues, wants or needs to our attention and we will do our best to solve the issue with organizations such as the Red Cross and Team Rubicon," said Dobbs.
Operation Allies Welcome is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security mission to facilitate the safe relocation of evacuated Afghans to the U.S. and to help them integrate into society.
"This mission is particularly important to me as an Army officer and as an American," said Lt. Col. Chris Cook, commander of 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "I fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This initiative is an emotional and clean closure for what took place and is a fantastic opportunity to come back and help the people that helped us over the course of two decades in Afghanistan."