Rep. Calvert and Rep. Garcia Introduce Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal to the Aircrew of Reach 871

October 4, 2021
Press Release

Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) and Congressman Mike Garcia (CA-25) have introduced legislation, H.R.5437, to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the U.S. Air Force aircrew of Reach 871 in recognition of their bravery and outstanding service during Operation Allies Refuge. During the non-combatant evacuation from Afghanistan, the crew of Reach 871 set a record by loading 823 individuals on to a flight, the most people ever flown on a C-17 Globemaster III. The crew is part of the 436th Air Wing based at Dover Air Force Base.

“Under chaotic and dangerous conditions, the Air Force crew of Reach 871 went above and beyond the call of duty to maximize the number of people it could evacuate,” said Rep. Calvert. “The crew saw the urgent and desperate need to provide refuge for men, women and children, and took the initiative to exploit the incredible capability of the C-17 aircraft to transport them to safety. During the final days of our nation’s presence in Afghanistan in which so much went wrong, the images of a sea of anxious people packed into a C-17 cargo hold were a searing reminder of America’s compassion. Awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the crew of Reach 871 is a fitting and appropriate recognition of their bravery and selflessness.”

“The chaotic withdrawal in Afghanistan revealed the best and the worst of humanity. The Air Force crew of Reach 871 served as a bright light in the midst of a very dark reality. These U.S. servicemembers went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure as many men, women, and children as possible could seek safety,” said Rep. Garcia. “The crew set a record by loading 823 individuals on the flight, the most people ever flown on a C-17 Globemaster III. This crew is undoubtedly deserving of the Congressional Gold Medal to rightfully honor their decisiveness, bravery, and successful completion of this historic mission.”

 

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