The last soldier to leave Afghanistan on the day the U.S. concluded its 20-year war has been identified as Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps.
Donahue, who was one of the commanders on the ground leading the evacuation mission, made the history on Monday, August 30. General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, said that the last U.S. aircraft left Afghanistan on August 30 at 3:29 p.m. ET, or 11:59 p.m. in Kabul.
The Defense Department's communications wing, DVIDs, released a photo of Donahue boarding a C-17 cargo plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Also on board was Chargé d'affaires Ross Wilson. Donahue and U.S. Forces Afghanistan Forward commander Rear Admiral Peter Vasely ran the evacuation operation that started August 14 and evacuated more than 122,000 individuals, including 6,000 U.S. citizens.
McKenzie admitted on Monday August 30, that not everyone who wanted to get out of Afghanistan got out, but said he was proud of the U.S. troops who, under the leadership of Donahue and Vasely, evacuated so many. The U.S. mission in Afghanistan began shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. There were 2,461 U.S. service members killed in the 20-year war. Thursday, August 26, marked the bloodiest day for American troops after 13 U.S. service members were killed in an ISIS-K suicide bombing.
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