Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenny Eusebio, a native of Homestead, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 supports Task Force 58 and Operation Allies Refuge (OAR) aboard USS Ronald Reagan.
On July 14, 2021, the White House announced OAR to support the relocations of interested and eligible Afghan nationals and their immediate families who supported the U.S. Government and applied for a Special Immigrant Visa. The Department of State, the lead federal agency for this operation, activated the Afghanistan Coordination Task Force on July 19, 2021, and requested the Department of Defense provide support for up to 3,500 Afghan special immigrant applicants.
On Sept. 14, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) stood down a task force it established in August to temporarily assist the safe evacuation of personnel from Afghanistan.
Task Force 58 helped facilitate the safe transit of more than 7,000 U.S. citizens and evacuees traveling from Afghanistan through Bahrain. The task force included more than 1,400 U.S. and coalition personnel from various units operating in the 5th Fleet area of operations.
U.S. service members worked alongside U.S. Embassy and Bahraini counterparts to provide travelers with meals, short-term lodging and medical services around the clock before departing. NAVCENT established the task force Aug. 19 and immediately began constructing temporary processing and lodging facilities.
Eusebio, who joined the Navy three years ago and currently serves as an aviation structural mechanic, is proud to participate in OAR.
“Providing support to OAR means I get to be a part of history,” said Eusebio. “Everything started a long time ago, and now, being a part of ending it 20 years later is an indescribable experience.”
Eusebio has enjoyed being a part of something so important.
“It’s been satisfying to be able to help out those who helped us when we needed them,” said Eusebio. “People who put their lives on the line because they believed in the work we do.”
According to Navy officials, USS Ronald Reagan is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 5 and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
The Eagles of VFA 115 continue a proud legacy that dates to the dark months following the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Originally founded as Torpedo Squadron 11 on Oct. 10, 1942, the Eagles and their predecessors have been involved in every major American conflict since World War II.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Eusebio, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“While supporting OAR, I have had to keep everything professional, despite the emotions of the situation,” added Eusebio. “Other than that, there have been no challenges. We were called upon and we knew we had to deliver. There was not a moment of hesitation.”