The last soldier to leaveon the day the U.S. concluded its 20-year war has been identified as Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps. Donahue was one of the commanders on the ground leading the evacuation mission.
The final order Donahue gave was “flush the force,” which was sent out over a chat message system. At the time, there were five C-17 planes on the ground, all of which took off within 10 minutes of Donahue’s order. Each of the C-17s carry about 105 passengers, suggesting there were about 500 to 600 troops on the ground at that point.
General Kenneth F. McKenzie, the commander of the U.S. Central Command,left Afghanistan on August 30 at 3:29 p.m. ET, or 11:59 p.m. in Kabul.
The Defense Department’s communications wing, DVIDs, released a photo of Donahue boarding a C-17 cargo plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Also on board was Chargé d’affaires Ross Wilson.
Donahue and U.S. Forces Afghanistan Forward commander Rear Admiral Peter Vasely ran the evacuation operation that started August 14 and, including 6,000 U.S. citizens. McKenzie admitted Monday that not everyone who wanted to get out of Afghanistan got out, but said he was proud of the U.S. troops who, under the leadership of Donahue and Vasely, evacuated so many.
Donahue was serving in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. He first deployed to Afghanistan in 2002, and this was his fourth time in Afghanistan. He spent much of his career as a special operator in Iraq and Syria.