MILLINGTON, Tn. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Leah Romero, originally from El Paso, assigned to the forward deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan supports Task Force 58 and Operation Allies Refuge (OAR).
On July 14, 2021, the White House announced that the OAR will support the relocations of interested and eligible Afghan nationals and their immediate families who have supported the US government and applied for a special immigrant visa.
The State Department, the lead federal agency for this operation, activated the Afghanistan Coordination Task Force on July 19, 2021 and requested the Defense Ministry to support up to 3,500 immigrant applicants. Afghan specials.
On September 14, the United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) abolished a task force it had established in August to temporarily assist in the safe evacuation of personnel from Afghanistan.
Task Force 58 helped facilitate the safe transit of more than 7,000 US citizens and evacuees from Afghanistan via Bahrain. The task force included more than 1,400 U.S. and coalition personnel from various units operating in the 5th Fleet area of ââoperations.
The U.S. military worked alongside the U.S. Embassy and their Bahraini counterparts to provide travelers with meals, short-term accommodation, and 24-hour medical services prior to departure. NAVCENT created the working group on August 19 and immediately began building temporary treatment and accommodation facilities.
Romero, who joined the Navy six years ago and currently serves as a crypto technician, is proud to participate in the SRO.
âI am very proud of the work we have done here,â said Romero. “While I hope the opportunity never presents itself again, I would volunteer to help again if I could.”
According to Romero, supporting the OAR has been a rewarding experience.
âThe support we provided to Bahrain ranged between emotional and physical,â Romero said. “We smiled through a lot of what we saw, no matter how tired we were.”
According to Navy officials, the USS Ronald Reagan is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5 and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of ââoperations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the central region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific across the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
As a member of the US Navy, Romero, along with other Sailors, know they are part of a tradition of service delivering unforgettable experiences through leadership development, global affairs and humanitarian assistance. . Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the world and for generations of seafarers to follow.
âWe kept smiles on our faces to comfort the unaccompanied toddlers and the kids who held on,â Romero added. âTheir resilience was inspiring but painful to see. “
Author: Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel, Navy Office of Community Outreach
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