SAFE EXIT: Team Ramstein helps departees from Lebanon

Capt. Erin Dorrance
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Departees touch down at Ramstein

Smiles, handshakes and hugs were exchanged as 1,832 Americans
and family members of American citizens transited through
Ramstein  beginning Saturday.

The authorized departees disembarked 19 C-17 Globemaster aircraft at
Ramstein’s Passenger Terminal, operated by the Air Mobility Command,
while in transit to the United States.

“Team Ramstein is facilitating the safe recovery of American citizens,” said
Gen. Tom Hobbins, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander. “It is the
expertise that is demonstrated daily here that is really helpful in
times such as this where people are displaced and they need a U.S. Air
Force lift. Our Ramstein team is truly ensuring freedom’s future.”

The first aircraft carrying 101 authorized departees landed at Ramstein Saturday.

“I didn’t know what to expect as we unloaded the buses from the plane,”
said Maj. Gen. Phil Breedlove, 16th Air Force vice commander. “It
immediately struck me how relieved and thankful our citizens were to be
here out of harm’s way. I was proud to see how well USAFE and Team
Ramstein personnel are taking care of our American citizens. You can
see the pride in the faces of our Air Force professionals and you can
see how happy our American citizens are to be back in their

As one American citizen stepped off the bus at Ramstein, he emotionally
hugged Chief Master Sgt. Renee Starghill, 86th Airlift Wing command
“It gave me chills,” she said, smiling. “Everyone is very appreciative
and happy with the support we are gladly providing.” 

Team Ramstein provided a home-cooked meal, telephone calls, medical
care, chaplain services, child care and lent an ear to listen to what
the fellow Americans had experienced, said Col. Glen Apgar, 86th AW
vice commander, who added that Team Ramstein is proud they can help
fellow Americans.
Three sisters who left Lebanon less than 36 hours prior to arriving at Ramstein were pleased with the support.

“Everyone here has been nothing but nice,” said Mary Auode, a Lebanese
American who left Lebanon with her twin sister Mona and younger sister

The Auode sisters were visiting family as they have done every other
year for the past two decades. Ms. Mona Auode said they never
experienced bombings in the past and they knew they needed to leave
when the airport in Beirut was bombed. 

All the sisters smiled when they mentioned they had just called their
mother in Boston and told her they were safe in Germany on their way

“She cried and said she was glad we were on our way home,” said Ms. Julie Auode.