More than 2,300 Afghan refugees currently housed at Fort McCoy

Fort McCoy is currently housing the most refugees of the four military installations nationwide.
Fort McCoy
Fort McCoy(WEAU)
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 3:36 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2021 at 7:08 PM CDT
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FORT MCCOY, Wis. (WMTV) - Department of Defense officials gave an update on Afghan refugee operations Friday, saying that the most refugees are currently being housed at Fort McCoy in Monroe County.

Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck stated that Fort McCoy is currently housing 2,383 refugees, with a capacity for 10,000 people.

In recent visits to Fort McCoy, Fort Lee in Virginia and Fort Bliss in Texas, VanHerck said he was able to “proudly” watch members of the military interact with Afghan people. He was also able to talk to refugees at each location.

“During a conversation I had with one Afghan family, I asked if they had what they needed, if they were doing OK, getting enough to eat and getting enough to sleep,” said VanHerck. “The father thanked me, saying they had what they needed, and that it was the first time in a long time that he has slept without being afraid for his family’s safety.”

Between Fort Lee, Fort Bliss, Fort McCoy and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, there is a capacity for 21,000 refugees. The military is working to expand the capacity to 50,000 by September 15, and could increase the number of military installations involved.

VanHerck listed the capacity limits and current occupancy for the three installations outside of Fort McCoy:

  • Fort Lee: Capacity of 1,750. Currently housing 1,647 Afghans.
  • Fort Bliss: Capacity of 5,000. Currently housing 2,160 Afghans.
  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst: Capacity of 3,500. Currently has 2,160 Afghans.

VanHerck also added that servicemembers are providing culturally appropriate food, bedding and religious services for refugees.

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