Lt . Colonel Alex Pelbath, who led the last flights from Kabul , provided a unique perspective on the US withdrawal. On " Newsroom of America , "he described the experience as surreal and rewarding, but noted that it was one of the most difficult times in his life.
Pelbath, the airborne commander of the last five C17 missions on Afghanistan , was in Kabul on the day of the attack when 13 American servicemen were killed.
"The feelings we had were disappointment " said Pelbath. "Being so close to the end that we could have such a tragic loss of American lives. And we in the military felt that, like many Americans, we lost siblings. Particularly so close to the end. end. "
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The withdrawal method received severe criticism for leaving many US citizens and Afghan allies behind, with private groups taking action por evacuate the people the U.S. government failed to do.
Pelbath, however, said his crew had a different view in the final hours of the withdrawal.
"None of this was at the forefront of our concerns " he said.
"What we saw were 450 people on each of our C17s. We saw young families, lots of little children, lots of grateful and hopeful smiles. So we had, I would say, a unique advantage of being in a position where everything we saw wasns was gratitude, kindness and success in what we did. "
While he maintains that the evacuation mission was a rewarding experience, Pelbath said these were the three most difficult weeks in the life of her crew.
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"This was the largest airlift operation in history " he said. "C is the first time we have done this. And we kind of built this operation as we run it. So a lot of challenges. "
Pelbath noted the ease of their mission, despite the emotional and physical challenges of flying every day in the 120 degree heat.
" We have developed a very, very good plan, and I saw no chaos once we got into the throes of Operation "he said.
"An honor to have been able to serve.