Like many American veterans who saw action on the troubled soil of Afghanistan, Retired Marine Colonel Eric Terashima is determined to help evacuate Afghan allies who fought and supported them against the Taliban in the last two decades.
The administration had seven months to put a well-thought evac plan to extract everything from the deployed American troops to millions-worth of weapon systems to allies. Still, the administration didn’t do anything until the very last minute—as everybody and the world saw it, it was a mess.
Terashima described last year, as he puts it, as an “insane whirlwind” of getting people out of Afghanistan that he eventually lost tally of the total headcount he helped. He served as a forward operating base commander in Afghanistan until 2020, and during his deployment, he met dozens of locals at his outpost, where he got to live and work; some of them he even bonded with.
“Anytime anybody got injured… Afghans are very expressive emotionally. They were literally crying as we were evacuating our casualties. That’s how much it hurt them personally. That brings a closeness when you’re working together for nine months, as long as I was there,” Terashima recalled in an interview published in WUSF Public Media.