Minot airmen return home after supporting nearly 123,000 people evacuate Afghanistan

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Airmen with the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron exit an aircraft at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Sep 18, 2021. The 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron flew more than 20 engagements in support of U.S. Central Command ground-force objectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Allison Martin)

Six B-52’s and about 300 Minot Air Force Base airmen returned home in mid-September, ending a six-month deployment and helping nearly 123,000 people evacuate Afghanistan.

The airmen returned to Minot from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

One of the top priorities for the airmen was supporting the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan evacuees, Lt. Col. Michael Middents says. Airmen also helped care for over 55,000 evacuees in Qatar.

The airmen flew over 240 combat missions, clocking more than 3,100 flight hours.

With evacuees flowing steadily out of Afghanistan, Middents said this mission looked “uniquely different” from typical deployments many Minot airmen supported in the past.

“Many of our crews voluntarily landed from combat sorties and immediately ran over to support the refugee effort at Al Udeid Air Base,” Middents said. “I’m incredibly proud of this team, if there’s such a thing as a standard combat deployment, this wasn’t it.”

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