NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The first group of Afghan evacuees arrived at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo Tuesday. It comes a few days after Fort Bliss accepted its first group at the Dona Ana Village on the New Mexico side of the base.

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When evacuees arrive at one of the sites, they are screened for COVID-19 before being assigned a housing unit. Soldiers are building tents preparing for the arrival of more evacuees in the coming days. That includes not only places to house them but other amenities in including spaces for religious observances and recreation.

“You’ll see soldiers out here after we’ve built soccer goals playing soccer with our Afghan visitors, so that kind of immediate feedback is a positive outlook for soldiers,” said Staff Sgt. Cpt. Nicholas Dilandro, 40th Brigade Engineering Battalion.

“It’s been enlightening, it’s a new thing for all of us, for me and my soldiers, it’s a great experience,” said Staff Sgt. Ratirrell Duckworth, 40th Brigade Engineering.

The U.S. is preparing to provide housing and other support for as many as 50,000 Afghan evacuees.