The first five days were the worst. We were overwhelmed, perhaps as much as the people we were trying to help. The first aircraft of Afghan evacuees arrived just after midnight on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. The inbound flow of newborn-to-elderly passengers did not stop for another 15 days. That first arrival, a record-breaking 823 people on a C-17 Globemaster with call sign REACH871, were the harbingers of more than 57,000 people transiting Al Udeid Air Base in the next two weeks.