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Afghan refugees begin arriving at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin

August 23, 2021 GMT

FORT McCOY, Wis. (AP) — Afghan refugees have begun arriving at Fort McCoy in western Wisconsin for temporary housing and support after their home country fell to the Taliban.

According to a statement from the Army base, Afghans with special immigrant visa applicants, their families and other individuals at risk began arriving at the base Sunday as part of the continuing U.S. airlift. This is in addition to Afghans currently undergoing processing at Fort Lee, Virginia. More arrivals are expected in the coming days.

Fort McCoy spokeswoman Cheryl Phillips said refugees are flying into Volk Field Air National Guard Base and being transported to Fort McCoy, which is located between Tomah and Sparta, about 100 miles northwest of Madison.

It was not immediately clear how many refugees Fort McCoy will be receiving. However, 1,000 soldiers from the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve are assembling at Fort McCoy to provide support.


Fort McCoy is one three military installations in the U.S. approved by the Department of Defense for temporary housing. U.S. Northern Command is working to build additional capacity at the Wisconsin base, as well as at Fort Lee, Fort Bliss in Texas, and potentially other bases.

The last time Fort McCoy served as a refugee center was in 1980, when it housed 14,000 Cubans who fled Fidel Castro’s government.