Although 13 service members died last week in an ISIS suicide bombing in Kabul, US Forces were able to save over 30,000 people by evacuating them in military planes.
Marine Captain Geoff Ball, commander of Ghost Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, wrote a post over the weekend recognizing the efforts of those who were killed.
“Nine of my Marines and Sailors gave their lives so that others may live, and almost 20 other members of the company were wounded by their side. There is no greater honor for a Marine to be called to save Americans. To be the last on deck as those who need our help are pulled to safety. To lay down our lives for others. That is what my Marines did. They will always be my heroes.”Capt. Geoff Ball
The ISIS bombing happened at 5:30 p.m. The Islamic State group came through and detonated a 25-pound explosive vest as Marines and sailors were getting Afghan families out of a canal by the airport’s Abby Gate.
Ball said, “All those working to save Afghans and Americans were fully exposed to the blast.”
Troops brought children over the wires as needed while everyone else walked through the gates. The gate was still open to allow the British forces to leave since they also accelerated their timetable.
Ball said with their efforts plus the British Parachute Regiment, 30,000 people came through the Abbey Gate. The gate was kept open an hour longer to let more people through, then the bomber hit.
Around 170 Afghans and 13 American soldiers were killed in the horrific explosion; more were wounded. The military calls this type of incident a “mass casualty event.” However terrible the situation was, Ball was proud of his Marine’s response.
“Senior leaders at the operations center remarked they had never seen a MASSCAS response move so quickly. The entire V21 team worked incredibly smoothly and efficiently during this moment and we lived up to our name, The Professionals. We held security, we moved our wounded, and due to our training, likely saved more than we should have.”Capt. Geoff Ball
He also said Ghost Company is “…a family. It is resilient, and it is cohesive.”