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Preserving artifacts from Operation Allies Refuge

  • Published
  • By Airman Caleb Parker
  • 628th ABW PA

Airmen from the 437th Airlift Wing donated artifacts recovered from Afghanistan during Operation Allies Refuge for historical preservation on July 11, at Dayton, Ohio.

Darrel Lewis, historian for the 437th AW, facilitated the donation of a runway sign from Bagram Airfield, a runway sign from Kabul, Afghanistan, two panels from the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron operations building, along with other items related to the campaign to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

“The airfield sign was a part of the taxiway in Kabul,” said Master Sgt. Scott Salamone, 628th Civil Engineering Squadron first sergeant. “Every Airman involved in the OAR airlift was able to sign it to signify that you were a part of the historical airlift.”

The airfield signs and other items donated represent a piece of the Airmen’s lives during the three and a half weeks in which the United States evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan.

“When you think of artifacts, runway signs are not the first things that come to mind,” said Lewis. “But for the crews that were working OAR, they probably saw these things more time than you could imagine. I think they are very important to preserve.”

These items will be kept safe in the museum as a testimony for future generations to understand what Airmen are capable of accomplishing.

“It means a great deal to have these items donated for all to see,” said Salamone. “Because we overcame many challenges to save people, to give them a better life… a free life.”