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Combat Art Articles

CAPACITY: Combat-Proven Readiness for 75 Years ... Transforming the Future!

  • Published

C-17 Afghanistan evacuation painting

lithograph        in the press

Artist: Senior Master Sgt. (ret.) Darby Perrin
Medium: 16"x20" oil on panel
Date: 2023

Total Force units surged to support Operation ALLIES REFUGE beginning Aug. 14, 2021. Initially, Air Force Reserve organizations such as the 349th Air Mobility Wing, stationed at Travis Air Force

Base, California, focused on transporting elements of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division to Kabul, Afghanistan. The intent of the airlift effort was to provide security to Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA). However, the capital city fell to the Taliban on Aug. 15, 2021. This development spurred chaotic conditions at the airport as it was the only point of safe egress from the country. After delivering military personnel and equipment to secure the airfield, airlift crews faced a challenging situation. Desperate Afghans swarmed the flightline forcing a prompt adjustment to an evacuation effort. Depicted here, a C-17 Globemaster III, commanded by Lt. Col. Dominic Calderon, takes off from HKIA with 153 U.S.

citizens, allied partners, and vulnerable Afghans onboard. The rapid deployment of Air Force Reserve Command assets allowed the U.S. Air Force to provide essential support at a critical moment. Aircrews demonstrated readiness when called to the field with 72 hours’ notice and displayed tremendous resilience when faced with fluid situations in dangerous environments. The flight crew manifested this seamless integration, as four personnel are Reserve Airmen with the 349th Air Mobility Wing and one individual is an active-duty Airmen with the 3rd Wing, Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska.


  • Lt. Col. Dominic Calderon, Aircraft Commander, 301st Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
  • 1st Lt. Kyle Anderson, Mission Pilot, 301st Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
  • Master Sgt. Silva Foster, Loadmaster, 301st Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
  • Senior Airman Michael Geller, Loadmaster, 517th Airlift Squadron – U.S. Air Force Reserve
  • Staff Sgt. Dennis Gonzales-Furman, Flying Crew Chief, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron – U.S. Air Force