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NEWS | Aug. 25, 2021

Vermont National Guard supports Afghanistan evacuation

By Marcus Tracy, Joint Force Headquarters - Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

COLCHESTER, Vt. – Vermont National Guard units deployed to U.S. Central Command are supporting Operation Allies Refuge.

A small contingent from the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry (Mountain), 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, this month to help secure Hamid Karzai International Airport. Additional units from 3-172 IN (MTN) support Special Immigration Visa holders processing through locations within U.S. Central Command.

“Our Soldiers from Task Force Avalanche trained and deployed to support their combatant commander in whatever mission they might be assigned,” said Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont’s adjutant general. “While we can’t always predict exactly what that mission may look like, I know our Soldiers are ready and will excel in this important humanitarian mission.”

Task Force Avalanche, comprised of Soldiers from Vermont’s 3-172 IN (MTN) and elements from other states, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Colorado, deployed to locations within U.S. Central Command in February 2020. As part of U.S. Army Central, Task Force Avalanche primarily serves Operation Spartan Shield, which provides a U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia to strengthen defense relationships and build partnerships.

In addition, units of the 86th IBCT (MTN) deployed to Kosovo to support U.S. Europe Command are preparing to assist the Department of State by temporarily housing Special Immigrant Visa holders, if necessary.

The 86th IBCT (MTN) assumed operational control of Regional Command-East, headquartered at Camp Bondsteel, last month. Regional Command-East represents a full complement of contributing NATO and partner nations, and it is organized with four multinational elements, in addition to the RC-E headquarters.

These operations follow through on America’s commitment to Afghan citizens who have helped the United States the past 20 years.