By Naval Station Rota Public Affairs
A flight carrying more than 450 evacuees from Afghanistan arrived at Naval Station Rota on Aug. 27 in support of Operation Allies Refuge.
The initial group of evacuees arrived on a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Kuwait International Airport.
Operation Allies Refuge is the U.S. Department of State’s mission to facilitate the safe departure and relocation of U.S. citizens, Special Immigration Visa recipients, and vulnerable populations from Afghanistan. Naval Station Rota is coordinating with its allies from the Spanish Navy and the government of Spain to serve as a transit location for evacuees before their onward movement to other locations.
“I am truly impressed and deeply moved to see the members of the Rota community do what we do best: come together to support this vital mission,” said Capt. David Baird, commanding officer of Naval Station Rota. “Our military and civilian volunteers will continue to work closely with our Spanish partners to ensure the people we are helping are treated with the utmost dignity and respect, and are welcomed with open arms.”
To house arriving evacuees, Naval Station Rota has designated Liberty Field as a temporary lodging area, with Halal dining, religious and recreation areas also available.
In accordance with Department of Defense and Spanish government guidance, Naval Station Rota is employing health protection standards to protect vulnerable Afghans, evacuees, service members, U.S. and local national employees and the community at large. COVID-19 mitigation is at the forefront of all health protection efforts, and all evacuees from Afghanistan will be tested for COVID-19.
Additionally, medical personnel will assess and provide assistance for anyone with injuries or other medical concerns.
Naval Station Rota sustains the fleet, enables the fighter and supports the family by conducting air operations, port operations, ensuring security and safety, assuring quality of life and providing the core services of power, water, fuel and information technology.