SAN DIEGO — Two veterans, one from San Diego, are describing the quick action they took to help rescue people from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.
Scott Mann retired his Green Beret uniform a decade ago. When he learned his friend was trapped in Afghanistan as the Taliban took control, he quickly went to work.
“It was one of my really good friends who was an Afghan commando named Nazam,” Mann said. “It was very clear he was in Kabul and he and his family, if they were caught, they were going to be executed so it was about getting them out.”
Mann put together a team of retired combat veterans who volunteered their time and resources under the name Taskforce Pineapple.
“Most combat veterans can agree there was that initial frustration, that anger, but more importantly we’re not going to leave anybody behind,” Mann said. “While the nation got angry, combat veterans got to work.”
Mann, based out of Florida, was able to get his friend and hundreds of others to safety.
San Diego Navy veteran Shawn VanDiver was also busy working to rescue Afghans and Americans through coalition #AfghanEvac, which started when he found out his friend Lucky was in danger.
“He was surrounded by Taliban,” VanDiver said. “They running low on ammo and he didn’t think he was going to make it out. So he said, ‘Shawn, will you please grant me my last wish of helping get my family out of Afghanistan?’ I was already trying to book commercial flights for them but that really cemented it.”
The groups coordinated information, funds and resources for evacuees and helped get more than 5,000 Afghans and Americans out, proof the veterans may have retired their uniforms but they never forgot how to serve.
“The big story here is that, we were able to keep egos at bay, keep political leanings at bay and band together in the most American thing I’ve ever seen. A bunch of disparate groups of people pulling together toward a shared mission. And really I think we’d like to see a lot more of that,” VanDiver said.
Taskforce Pineapple and #AfghanEvac say they are still working to get thousands more out of country.