41st FAB Soldiers bring smiles to Afghan children

By Maj. Joseph BushOctober 6, 2021

Sgt Alonzo Sirmans, a Soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, playz with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt Alonzo Sirmans, a Soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, playz with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. First Class Brooks Robinson, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays ball with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while checking up on his Soldiers that are conducting gate guard in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. First Class Brooks Robinson, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays ball with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while checking up on his Soldiers that are conducting gate guard in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. First Class Robinson, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays a game with 2 Afghani children in the courtyard on Sept. 30, 2021 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes)
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. First Class Robinson, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays a game with 2 Afghani children in the courtyard on Sept. 30, 2021 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes) (Photo Credit: Spc. Ryan Barnes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Emhof, assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays with an Afghan child in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes)
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Nicholas Emhof, assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays with an Afghan child in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes) (Photo Credit: Spc. Ryan Barnes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Cpt. Micah Thompson, the commander for Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, quizzes the Afghan students on their numbers as they wait to enter the enter the temporary school house at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cpt. Micah Thompson, the commander for Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, quizzes the Afghan students on their numbers as they wait to enter the enter the temporary school house at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – The sounds of children laughing, playing volleyball as they try to best their adult opponents. This was the scene at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on September 30, 2021.

The Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade, and they deployed to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 25, to support Operation Allies Welcome as security augmentation.

About 175 Soldiers replaced 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade who initially assumed the supporting task of Operation Allies Refuge on Sept. 2.

“They have a huge sense of pride being able to be a part of this mission,” said Capt. Micah Thompson, the commander for Alpha Battery, 1-77 FAR. “Being able to have their part in making someone else’s life better is an opportunity that they don’t normally get, and I think they value it a lot.”

Spc. Sophia Harmelink, a Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays with a little Afghan girl on Sept. 30, 2021  at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes)
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Sophia Harmelink, a Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays with a little Afghan girl on Sept. 30, 2021 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes) (Photo Credit: Spc. Ryan Barnes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, play with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, play with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL
A young Afghan boy renders a proper military salute to the Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, while waiting in line to enter the temporary school house at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A young Afghan boy renders a proper military salute to the Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, while waiting in line to enter the temporary school house at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL
Young Afghan children pose for a photograph in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on September 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes)
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Young Afghan children pose for a photograph in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on September 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes) (Photo Credit: Spc. Ryan Barnes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. First Class Brooks Robinson, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays ball with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while checking up on his Soldiers that are conducting gate guard in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. First Class Brooks Robinson, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, plays ball with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while checking up on his Soldiers that are conducting gate guard in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Soldiers conduct security both outside and inside the living areas to ensure the evacuees are given a sense of safety and security in their living areas. In addition to their security tasks are also supporting vaccination operations and other tasks to mission essential tasks; however, the Soldiers also find time to make the evacuees feel welcome in other ways. The Soldiers take any opportunity they can to play with the Afghan children.

“So, I took about five hours out of my day braiding all the girls’ hair. Because every girl deserves to get their hair braided. I was just in their tent braiding their hair, and they loved it. They were so happy,” said Spc. Sophia Harmelink, a 13M Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember assigned to 1-77 FAR supporting OAW. “I think it’s a really awesome, once in a lifetime experience.”

Sgt. 1st Class Brooks Robinson, a platoon sergeant in 1-77 FAR and an Afghanistan veteran, spent a lot of time playing with the children. They smiled and laughed as they hung off of his uniform while he carried them around and playfully tossed them in air.

Cpt. Micah Thompson, the commander for Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, get a high five young afghan girl as she waits to enter the enter the temporary school house at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cpt. Micah Thompson, the commander for Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, get a high five young afghan girl as she waits to enter the enter the temporary school house at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL
Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, play with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes)
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, play with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes) (Photo Credit: Spc. Ryan Barnes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, play with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes)
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, play with Afghan children in the courtyard at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while conducting gate guard and security patrols in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ryan Barnes) (Photo Credit: Spc. Ryan Barnes) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. First Class Robinson, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, stops to consoles an Afghan child at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while checking up on his Soldiers conducting gate guard in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. First Class Robinson, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, stops to consoles an Afghan child at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while checking up on his Soldiers conducting gate guard in the facilities on Sept. 30, 2021. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL
Spc. Sophia Harmelink, a Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, poses for a photo on Sept. 30, 2021 with her new Afghan friends who she had spent time with teaching them how to braid each hair at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush)
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Sophia Harmelink, a Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember assigned to 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, poses for a photo on Sept. 30, 2021 with her new Afghan friends who she had spent time with teaching them how to braid each hair at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Approximately 175 Soldiers from 1-77 FAR, 41st Field Artillery Brigade have been assigned to support Operation Allies Welcome and augment the security force at the holding facilities at Ramstein providing life support for Afghan travelers awaiting follow on flights. (Official U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush) (Photo Credit: Maj. Joseph Bush) VIEW ORIGINAL

“For our daily mission we usually get out there, get people in place, I’ll go around and check on security,” Robinson said. “Once everybody is set, I’m able to go interact with our Soldiers and the Afghan Travelers. From being deployed in the Middle East to coming here, you’re able to see it come full circle. We need to take care of them because they were the ones who were able to help us. We owe it to them, and to our Soldiers to help them.”

For now, the Soldiers will continue to support Operation Allies Welcome until the mission is complete, or they are relieved of their duty. Either way, the Soldiers are proud to serve and participate in the mission.

“To be able to come out and ease that transition as [the Afghan Travelers] integrate into American Society, to be a part of that means a lot,” said Thompson. “I hope they look back and feel like they have been respected, and that they have a positive outlook on the future.”