U.S. troops continue support to local community during withdrawal operations

  • Published
  • 406th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Amidst the ongoing withdrawal of American forces from Niger, U.S. troops at Air Base 201 in Agadez have been working to continue their support to the local community and maintain the partnership between the two.

This partnership was on full display during a recent community engagement by the 409th Air Expeditionary Group, who donated desks to a local school in Agadez, alongside members of the Forces Armees Nigeriens (Nigerien Armed Forces or FAN).

“Some of our folks conducted a visit to the local elementary school here and realized the desks and benches they had were covered with holes and hardly usable,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Taylor Swank, 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of structures. “We decided to source wood from the local economy and build a total of 60 desks and benches for them.”

Late last month, the team partnered with the FAN to deliver the desks to the school, along with a new easel to hold the local community center's chalkboard.

“This was a great opportunity to continue our support to the community here,” Swank said. “Day-to-day, a lot of our focus has shifted primarily to the withdrawal efforts over the past few months, but this engagement was a great chance to spend time with our host nation counterparts and locals to show we still value our partnership.”

While withdrawal efforts officially began early last month, the number of U.S. personnel in the country has gone from approximately 1,100 to 500 with an average of two flights per day withdrawing equipment and personnel once their specialty is no longer required.