Team Kirtland members deploy to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, assist with Afghan refugees

  • Published
  • By SSgt. Enrique Barcelo
  • 377 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Kirtland Air Force Base selected six team members from different units to deploy to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in an effort to assist with the rehoming of Afghan refugees from the evacuation in Kabul.

JBMDL is one of eight U.S. military bases designated to house Afghan refugees and is planned to be the last one once everything has settled down. The refugees are currently living in temporary housing separated into four villages.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Dominic Sealy, 898 Munitions Maintenance officer in charge at Kirtland, spoke about his experience as the logistics OIC for Village 4 at JBMDL

“Our team is made up of people from all different units across the base,” said Sealy. “We have Security Forces, Ammo, Logistics Readiness, etc. all coming here to help”

The number of refugees compared to the number of staff was been overwhelming, causing long work schedules for everyone involved.

“It’s definitely been a high ops tempo. 72 hours a week, six days a week, 12 hours a day,” said Sealy. “All the Airmen here were part of the initial process on how to set it up. We had to figure it out when we got here.”

Regardless of the workload, the attitude of everyone involved was positive.

Airman First Class Emani Knight, 377th Weapons Systems Security entry controller, ensured the security of the members on base as well as the refugees.

“The refugees are very grateful, they’re coming from a stressful situation so there’s normal frustration, but we’ve had very few issues,” said Knight. “They have a great system set up here, from clothing, to food and medicine.”

The volunteers are stationed throughout the villages and have duties ranging from operating the clothing lines to serving meals and providing medical treatment and vaccinations

“Everyone here is in need of something, and we’re trying to fill it out the best that we can,” said Sealy. “The kids love the toys, and the most memorable moment was taking a bag of inflatable balls to the playground and getting swarmed.”