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Airmen Stopped Midair Attack on C-17 Flight Deck During Afghan Airlift

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The American crew members of a C-17 transport aircraft are being awarded for their role in the 2021 Afghanistan evacuation — in particular, for a flight in which the passengers they were evacuating from the country tried to storm the aircraft’s cockpit.

More than 450 Afghans had been allowed onto the August 2021 flight from Kabul Airport as the country capitulated to the Taliban.

Speaking to Task & Purpose, Senior Airman Kimberly Heiser recounted a flight fraught with the Afghan evacuees’ aversion to American culture — including the concept of treating women with respect.

“It was a struggle to have our interpreter respected or even heard,” Heiser said of the evacuees’ treatment of the in-flight female interpreter.

“As a female crew member, I also was not treated very well, and it’s again a cultural difference,” she said.

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A passenger Heiser described as “a 16-year-old mother” began experiencing a medical emergency as the aircraft was waiting to land at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Many evacuees reacted with hostility after the aircraft’s commander authorized his crew to take the ailing mother to the aircraft’s cockpit for medical treatment — a decision that gravely defied Air Force protocols, according to Task & Purpose.

In a shocking development, two of the Afghans on the flight reacted to the medical treatment of the female passenger with an attempt to storm the aircraft’s flight deck.

An Air Force loadmaster and another airman had to physically restrain the men — as a crew member stood inside with a service pistol in the event they accessed the cockpit.

Should these airmen be recognized for their service?

The crew of the flight — callsign Reach 651 — was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during a ceremony at Travis Air Force Base in California on Dec. 9.

The aircraft’s commander, Maj. Drew Dela Cruz, hailed his crew’s composure in a situation that could’ve taken a dramatic turn for the worse, according to a news release about the award ceremony.

“I am extremely proud of my crew for their tireless efforts throughout the mission to ensure the flight deck was secure,” Dela Cruz said of the actions of his airmen.

Not only does the account raise questions about the haphazard withdrawal of the U.S. military from Afghanistan amid the country’s capitulation, but it also raises direct concerns as to the so-called refugees who lucked into a free plane trip out of their country as its government collapsed.

Maybe the Afghan “men” who took it upon themselves to attempt to storm the cockpit of the C-17 in a bid to prevent the crew from providing medical treatment should’ve shown an ounce of the same bravery in fighting the Taliban.

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If these guys wanted to fight, maybe they should’ve been flown back to Afghanistan and directed to pick up the weapons the Afghan army abandoned to fight for their country. If you’re such a tough guy, make something happen.

Ukrainians can do it well, and that’s without the decades of security assistance that the U.S. government provided to Afghanistan.

Oddly enough, you don’t see millions of Ukrainian men lining up at an airport to be scurried out in their country’s hour of peril.

And who knows where these people are today? Perhaps they are living well in the United States on the full regimen of federal welfare benefits available to refugees.

The phrase “freedom isn’t free” makes for a fine conservative bumper sticker, but it takes an entirely new meaning when applied to Afghanistan’s capitulation to the Taliban.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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