USSF MH-47 Chinooks Deployed in Sudan Evacuation

The evacuation operation conducted by the rotary wing was “fast and clean,” according to the Pentagon.

MH-47 Chinook’s assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) approach a Forward Area Refueling Point site in Pajoustic, Lithuania, May 15, 2016. [Credit:U.S. Air Force]

U.S. Special Forces deployed three MH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters to evacuate fewer than 100 staff members and Marine embassy guards from the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan over the weekend, according to the Pentagon.

President Joe Biden issued an order for the military evacuation and the temporary suspension of embassy operations following an outburst of violence between the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces.

"This tragic violence in Sudan has already cost the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians," Biden said Saturday. "It’s unconscionable and it must stop.  The belligerent parties must implement an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and respect the will of the people of Sudan."

The "successful operation" was led by U.S. Africa Command and conducted in close coordination with the U.S. State Department, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said in a statement.

Days leading up to the evacuation, the Defense Department pre-positioned troops and assets to Djibouti, according to Army Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II, the Joint Staff's director of operations.

"[Yesterday], the U.S. military evacuated those personnel in support of the State Department closing operations at the Embassy in Khartoum," Sims said, according to a DOD report released Sunday. "[Yesterday] at 9 a.m. Eastern, a contingent of U.S. forces lifted off from Djibouti and landed in Ethiopia. The aircraft — including three MH-47 Chinooks refueled in Ethiopia before flying approximately three hours to Khartoum."

More than 100 special operations personnel were involved in the operation, Sims said.

"The evacuation was conducted in one movement via rotary wing," Sims added. "The operation was fast and clean, with service members spending less than an hour on the ground in Khartoum. As we speak, the evacuees are safe and secure." 

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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