Report on Evacuation Efforts on Ramstein Air Base, Germany

Gabrielle Ivey

A report about the support provided by Ramstein Air Base, Germany during the Kabul non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) of 2021. The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has published Management Advisory: DoD Support for the Relocation of Afghan Nationals at Ramstein Air Base, DODIG-2022-040), December 1, 2021.

An audit team of the DoD Inspector General’s office conducted a visit to Ramstein Air Base in Germany in September 2021 to observe the operations, housing conditions, and support for the Afghan evacuees. The objective of the audit was to determine whether the DoD had adequately planned and provided support for the relocation of the Afghan evacuees. Areas and topics of the inspection included the in-processing of Afghan evacuees, sustainment, housing, medical care, and physical security support.

Afghan Evacuee Flight Line Tent City Ramstein Air Base

Photo: Flightline of Ramstein Air Base before and after constructing the Afghan evacuee encampment. The tents were pulled from war reserve stocks, each tent capable of housing 40 to 60 evacuees. Afghan evacuees were assigned to a tent and provided a cot and a sleeping bag pulled from Ramstein AB’s organic supplies. (by Ramistein AB).

The findings of the investigation found that the procedures for identifying and screening Afghan evacuees were adequate. Living conditions for the Afghan evacuees were satisfactory and sufficient resources were available to meet the Afghan evacuees basic needs.

Ramstein Air Base served as one of the major transit points for Afghan evacuees who arrived from Afghanistan. On August 17th officials at Ramstein AB learned they would be receiving Afghan evacuees. On August 20th over 1,000 evacuees had arrived. Within two weeks over 28,000 evacuees would arrive at Ramstein AB. Of the evacuees that came through Ramstein (as of mid September) only 742 were American citizens. The air base was presented with numerous challenges with which they overcame in a timely and efficient manner.

A transportation security administrator takes pictures of Afghan family at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Photo: Dale Wursten, Transportation Security Administration inspector, has an evacuee help take pictures of their family members before boarding flights to the United States from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 9, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Edgar Grimaldo)

By mid-October 2021 almost all of the Afghan evacuees had departed Ramstein Air Base for military installations in the United States. The support provided by the air base proved instrumental in the overall effort to conduct an orderly departure of Afghan evacuees from the intermediate transit areas in the Middle East and Europe to the United States.

Management Advisory: DoD Support for the Relocation of Afghan Nationals at Ramstein Air Base, DODIG-2022-040), December 1, 2021, PDF, 22 pages.


Photo: Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Ivey, 24th intelligence Squadron analyst, gives high fives to a small boy during Operation Allies Refuge at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, September 13, 2021. OAR is facilitating the evacuation from Afghanistan for all evacuees and their care as they await travel to onward locations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexcia Givens)