MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Troops from Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division are deploying to multiple places in the U.S. to support refugees who recently escaped from Afghanistan, the military post announced Thursday.
The deployment comes the same day as suicide bombers and gunmen in Afghanistan attacked crowds of people near the capital Kabul’s airport. The attack killed at least 12 U.S. service members including 11 Marines and one Navy medic, according to U.S. officials. While the Taliban recently took control of Afghanistan violently, it condemned the attack now believed to have been carried out by Islamic State terrorists.
Around 500 troops from the Big Red One and Fort Riley combined will disperse to places including Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Bliss in Texas, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and Fort Lee in Virginia. The troops will join members from various other U.S. military installations to help provide “temporary housing, sustainment and support for vulnerable Afghans” coming to these bases, according to officials at Fort Riley.
“The task forces at Fort McCoy, Fort Lee and JBMDL will provide housing, medical, logistics, and transportation support… U.S. Northern Command is the Department of Defense’s lead combatant command for this mission in the continental United States and is providing oversight in support of the Department of State. U.S. Army North, as U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, is the lead operational command for this mission.”Kirk Hutchinson, USAG Public Affairs Office at Fort Riley
A spokesperson for Fort Riley and a soldier among the 1st Infantry Division said he and his fellow service members are looking forward to helping the Afghan evacuees.
“Our troops are highly trained and ready to respond to any mission, anytime and anywhere,” said Lt. Col. Alex Tignor. “The Big Red One, military police, medical professionals, and logistics soldiers, men and women, deploying to these temporary housing sites are proud to join task forces U.S. Army North, U.S. Northern Command and the Department of Defense teams at Fort McCoy, Fort Lee and JBMDL in supporting the State Department with this mission.”
Fort Riley’s Public Affairs Office did not have a timeline or estimated duration on its troops’ involvement in their new mission.