FORT BLISS – On August 19, 2021, Fort Bliss was identified as one of multiple installations as part of the Department of Defense support to the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security mission, Operation Allies Refuge (OAR).
The mission at Fort Bliss is in full swing with the partnership of Soldiers from 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, the 528th Hospital Center, the 93rd Military Police and multiple non-governmental organizations such as the American Red Cross. All these groups are part of the effort to provide essential supplies to the Afghan personnel staying at Fort Bliss.
The Department of Defense, in support of the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, is providing additional temporary housing for vulnerable Afghans who were recently brought to the United States. This initiative follows through on America’s commitment to vulnerable Afghans and provides them essential support at locations where they and their families can finalize their immigration process safely.
Afghan families are being provided with many essential items they need to go about their day comfortably.
The partnership consists of approximately 20 members with the American Red Cross and a crew of Soldiers. They work around the clock to inventory, prep, and disburse supplies to the Afghan guests staying at Fort Bliss’ Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico.
“We have been assisting Red Cross with inventory and passing out items to the Afghans,” said Staff Sgt. Camron Edwards, a mortarman with 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2ABCT, 1AD. “We work in 12-hour shifts, providing help where needed, and it’s great work we are doing.”
As part of these duties, the Soldiers stacked and inventoried baby diapers, baby wipes and prepared to move to a larger building that holds a larger amount of supplies to support continued operations.
Sondra Ziegler, a 53-year team member of the American Red Cross, expressed how good she felt about providing assistance to the vulnerable Afghans and working with 2ABCT Soldiers.
“They speak to my heart and it’s a real passion of mine,” she said. “I think we are providing an impact to the Afghans’ daily life. I know that the military has our back and I hope they know that we have theirs.”
OAR will continue its partnership with multiple agencies in its ongoing team effort during this mission.