August 29, 2021
for immediate posting
Joint Press Release U.S. Embassy in Rome – Sigonella Maritime Airport
New Sigonella Air Terminal, Italy – August 29, 2021 – Departure from Afghanistan Departing from the Naval Airport in Sigonella on August 28 en route to the United States. Flights to the United States with full capacity to fly US citizens and vulnerable Afghans to Philadelphia and Dallas airports as part of the Allied Refugee Operation.
The United States has succeeded in evacuating more than 100,000 people and their families on American and Allied military aircraft. “It is a testament to the strength of our brave American service members, our citizens, our military cooperation, and our partnership with the Italian government.”
Operation Allies Refugee is the mission of the US Department of State to expedite and safely evacuate US citizens, special immigrant visa applicants and other vulnerable people from Afghanistan. Working with allies in the Italian Air Force and the Italian government, NAS Ciconella serves as a transportation destination for evacuees prior to traveling to the United States and elsewhere.
I cannot be proud of the Marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen, guards, US government officers and civil servants here. Commander in Chief Anna Wood. “This is a serious effort by the US government and other Afghans in partnership with the State Department and other US government agencies to assist and facilitate the return of Afghans. Let’s do it together.”
Government officials and their local employees, along with members of the military, have been providing 24-hour assistance since the evacuation began on August 22.
“I am proud to be able to work with so many dedicated men and women representing so many government agencies,” said Kim Kronick, Advisor to the Secretary of Political Affairs at the US Embassy and Coordinator of Ciconella. We are doing everything we can to help vulnerable Americans and Afghans in need. Our goal is to reach and support them and their families and lead coordination with their liaison colleagues to ensure they reach their destinations quickly.”
The NAS Ciconella team has worked tirelessly to prepare and maintain IDPs as part of ongoing airlift efforts at US Central Command and US European Command theaters.
NAS Ciconella staff assigned two campgrounds and other temporary shelters for evacuees in the basement. Each accommodation has a halal dining room, religious and entertainment areas. In addition, medical assistance is provided to assess and assist people with injuries or other medical problems.
A local imam made daily visits to help the displaced with religious and spiritual support. Community members and supporters of the US forces assigned to NAS Ciconella continued to volunteer and donate. Each of the hundreds of children who came to NAS Ciconella received a welcome soft doll with clothes and other necessities.
In addition to the USAF Air Mobility Command’s airlift operation, the US Navy provided additional payload unloading support using four C-40A scissors from the Fleet Logistics Support Wing located at Joint Base Fordworth.
The strategic location of NAS Ciconella, known as the “hub hub,” is the Navy’s only foreign airport, which allows the United States and its friendly and allied national forces to respond to ensure security and stability in Europe and Africa.
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