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Rescue in Afghanistan: A Veteran's Story

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2021 6:00 am

Rescue in Afghanistan: A Veteran's Story

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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September 7, 2021 6:00 am

Chad Robichaux, who served eight tours of duty in Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine, shares his perspective on the recent turbulent events in that country and describes his experiences with being part of a team that was able to help rescue nearly 12,000 stranded people.

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And we are just like you got a great none of her incapable of doing what we did not automobile or even we have very high-level professional and experienced people, but what happened is no beyond nation for adult economic clout.

Time with no one getting hurt. Our team, that's Chad Robichaux sharing about the amazing efforts behind the scenes in Afghanistan is our guest today on Focus on the Family hostess focus presidency, Dr. Jim DeLeon, John Fuller and we've all seen the news troubling difficult circumstances in Afghanistan and I do hope your praying for Christian brothers and sisters and other vulnerable people left behind after the recent evacuation from the country as we go along, giving an insiders perspective on that situation just be advised appearance.

If you have younger children listening in.

You may want to have them occupied elsewhere, John.

I wanted to talk to our guest today because he's been on the ground.

He's been in Afghanistan. Eight tours with the Marines and he's done eight incredible thing hereby getting many many Americans and SIV visa holders out of Afghanistan. I think it's going to be important to hear from him about what's going on. What motivated him as a veteran to get involved but I think most importantly have the spiritual element of what's going on. You know there's a lot happening here and it's not purely a political issue there so many things going on and I wanted to get a firsthand report again from Chad are guest about what is happening and what he has observed about what is happening as a Christian and as a soldier and Chad Robichaux is a former Marine with special forces.

He's the founder of mighty Oaks foundation, which service veterans. He's also been working with an organization called save our allies a coalition formed to help vulnerable Americans and allies and Afghan supporters of the US Chad welcome back to Focus on the Family.

It's great to have you with us yet. Let me let me give people actually ask you to paint the picture of your background you served eight tours in Afghanistan here in the special forces within the Marine Corps.

Man I'm in all of you. You are my man guy yeah I look at you now both my sons and range and get the service quickly, right as part of the case.task force wanted me to get to represent the Marine Corps their entities WERE cited a deployment to Afghanistan. In that capacity, and my job I think is important for the conversation to have.

It might understand my job a little different operator so I Bennett with Afghans and lived it, people's homes with their families and learn the culture and talk with her kids and this really understood them to be patriots. They were to fight for the freedom of their country for their children and their futures and also to support and believe in America's large errors in their Chad that's one of the reasons I really wanted to talk to you because you're a believer you serve the nation with such I guess nobleness is the right way to say it and courage and you have been so connected to the action in Afghanistan as you described it. That's why I really wanted to talk to you, and I think it's millions of people who are feeling like and what have we done here and I don't want to focus on the politics of it, but the lack of honor in what's been done seems to shake so many of us at our core, that it doesn't feel right and I just wanted to hear it straight from your mouth as your there and have been there eight times and then you've gone back organ to get into that how you gone back to save people and help them get out but I think just man-to-man again. What what did that feel like to do it the way we did it.

Yeah, I agree to give it a try not to get into politics that it just seems like when you just say what happened and what you like political leaning way. But it's not you know that thing that happened here it leaving condition as a country to believe that we were in a 20 year war and we need to get out now.

The motivation behind that could be your opinion, but we been conditioned to believe that this is what we have to get out the truth. Is this what a 20 year war. The war was over about three years ago for US forces fighting the Taliban. We have been supporting an international coalition effort. The Afghan national army to fight it out on bottom airbase. We had lowest .2 thousand 500 troops and average about 4000 troops there in the international community was all about airport space, the more strategic location on the current global stage in the world between Iraq, Iran, China, Russia, Leah note Syria. It's just such a strategic location and it enabled us to go to have limited military presence there and support the Afghan national army with the rest of the world to keep Caliban and terrorism at bay. It was working, but we we first think was to pull out in the way we did it give up bottom Air Force Base. The second was to pull out the military before the civilians before our American civilians before Afghan allies to forfeit bottom Air Force Base for the White House. Central command from their effort to put 82nd airborne and secure the airfield about Air Force Base was a huge mistake in the White House took the Neil operation which is a noncombatant evacuation operation.

The White House took it away from the Department of the plant in military, which is who is responsible for the operations, usually a J soccer so Comcast force evacuation effort, the White House believed that the military had too much emotional attachment to give to the State Department who has no experience, no business running a Neil operation and I was a catastrophic mistake and failure that created the scenario to where the airport which is the last stronghold became to be treated like Embassy if you can make it on their sacred. They can't we not do anything about rescue no one would not get our troops or simply security guards or perimeter that airfield and then there's this thing of being told that we owned that airfield control the airfield but the truth is anyone it understands military strategy, knows that whoever controls outer perimeter really control that space in the US State Department allowed the Caliban not only allowed to coordinate with the Taliban -controlled outer perimeter could be security checkpoints to check American citizens passports to make it in to the airport and we know that Caliban without allowing it to happen. Well, that's one of the best explanations I've heard so far in Chad again. It's so good to be able lean on your experience there in the country and those connections that you made being at the front line really getting to know these families getting to know the culture etc. let let me move to the motivation to get back in there in Afghanistan you're retired but you and some of your fellow veterans got together and decided we can help. Some of the people that we work with, get out of there just described that coordination how you talked with others how to how did you come up with this idea to get in there and get some of these folks that you knew working with the US military needed help. Yet what you eat hello. Love to talk about that a written talk about Danny Bashir and his name and it really Bashir. I hated him for his protection is limited. These and needless and I worked together really often times, just the two of us in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan and in the villages that elect tribal villages and we became very close.

In fact, save my life on multiple times in a glass. My friends and I seen him courageously and about your save other servicemembers as special operations guy so I developed heart and friendship for these. We stayed in touch all these years and that we need a deployment together. His family was close to me and we were trying to get a special immigrant visa and out system which is broken and it wasn't working.

We been trying for six years and when I seen it start to deteriorate about two months ago. I reach out to my buddy Dan Stenson who served with me at at our Sources. If we have to go get his family and and we decided to do that so we have a bit of forward runway before this happened because we're planning to put the money together we worked to network resources and at the start class really quickly when we begin to hurry and start moving into how can we make it happen fast because Afghanistan is about to fall in the effort of doing that one of the other special operations guy's that were had on our team recognized it was about 3000 orphans and just really moved our heart disease and family. Let's give these kids and we went to the UAE government and asked for support written relationships. There UAE government amazing the conference military generals give us the full support they offered us the aircraft we needed a humanitarian center that would fit 4100 people and that airfield and all the military support we bring about 12 special operations guys spreading out from a three-man team on the ground in Afghanistan outside the wire one person inside the wire on the airfield. Coordinate with the military. We had our team in Abu Dhabi and I don't operations center in Chino, Washington DC, and to execute a plan to to reach out let people know that were to do this so we proceed by 30,000 emails for help. We triaged it categorized it between Americans interpreters Christians there will be an enemy persecuted women orphans and we we coordinate efforts and were on the ground for about eight days in Afghanistan and we we started with disease and his family and at the end of when the dust settled we had rescued 8911 and coordinated the rescued lot 3000 others. That is, it was one long day we ever overcame so proud of them slept in our day for two weeks in and it was just cannot continue. Most of our team are Christians and we all just watch.orchestrate something that none of us are capable of doing this. What we did was not possibly even wheat we have very high-level professionals and experienced people, but what happened is you know beyond estimation that Delta get that many people out and that. Time with no one getting hurt. Our team was amazing and said the thing about that and you even were able to that these people you were able to make sure that the ones you're in contact with, were actually people that help the US during the battles and somehow you were able to accomplish that where the US government couldn't. That's the other shocking thing, yet we told we have our group which is connecting to the group's established contact Tom PS which is content commercial task force and it will save our allies organization and our task force and the ground was passed 46868 air Max and me, but we I'm told that our top 468 and we were counting for the most rescues and evacuation most rescued personnel. In addition, we are second only the military free backdating people out. That's what is phenomenal.

That is a miracle. It really is. He really is and and, I'm the person get to talk to the phone right now that I am misrepresenting the most amazing professionals in our bravest people that register with this week. Some Afghans that didn't want to leave that chose to stay there and some are still there. They chose to stay there to help us with this forfeiting their own ticket out. When asked about. That said, in terms of what were saying in the news summing so often you don't get a full picture from just watching 1/32 bite on the news to describe more fully you mention Christians that most likely will be persecuted. What does the cultural landscape look like with the US military gone. What will Isis K and the Taliban. What are they going to do in your opinion as an experienced soldier in that theater just level that you we have firsthand testimony on the ground of people being crucified array of note, people being burned alive.

One guy was had his US ID card melted to his chest arms cut off by his neck and drove my vehicle. This is just to share brutality and Christians will be immediately executed.

Typically, the Christians that we are targeting because they were actually missionary efforts. There and there was a lot of converted Christians and on the ID court that were Christian American court. So now they identify. We know that they're looking on phones for Bible apps and Bibles of the searching houses and anything defined like that is give you any execution. They're doing door-to-door executions now because of the media says that it really been paying attention, but I'm talking firsthand testimony from people that we still have on the ground that did make it out because there helping us. There is a door to door executions taking place that's horrible. I you know it it it seal so dishonorable again.

It feels like we did not keep our commitments. We didn't do the right thing, etc. it is just horrible to end it that way when it could've been handled so differently and so much better. It seems that Chad II do want to. I think that in that context of those Christians as a Christian man as a soldier looking at the whole thing spiritually. How do you get a handle on this. How do you try to understand the evil there is in the world. I member talking to Mike Pompeo.

He and I have developed a good friendship and he mentioned to me that the CIA director. He said I thought as a Christian I thought I knew what evil was until I saw what I saw in that role as CIA director and evil was far worse than we realize you seen it firsthand. You know what's going on there. How can human beings treat other human beings. That way you know it, taking a back full circle to really struggle in my faith and believing God when I was in Afghanistan I witnessed this firsthand in the tribal regions of Afghanistan now is Afghanistan. Just understand that what humans do to other humans to go test impacts of people when people people live in is eating evil ideologies and and raise their children and hate, and that's with the madrasa's would you forward, it's over me like as a Christian whereafter day understand is just understanding that know God is sovereign God stop this from happening, of course, he could but he allowed it happen and note that this 20 things I can't know. I don't think will ever understand why God allows it to happen, but he does anything control and in the end, a little older now and haven't had a lot of life experiences.

What I have seen is that when God is allowed happen. We understand we always had intimate see the work in a food that comes from it in the darkest times and you know I just know that God has a plan for this for allowing us to take place. Despite the horrific things that happen to people know we look we as humans look at life with a timestamp on this planet that she things eternal through Romans 828 which you know again you see it from a entirely different perspective than most of us that have never been in warfare that have been on the battlefield that has haven't seen atrocities committed the way that you've seen them and you know I can imagine it is much more difficult to embrace. Romans 828 which says, in all things work for good to those who love the Lord and are called by his name, but I think in the end of that, Chad.

It's about eternity with him that this is a know 8085 year run and then it's over. And then were with the Lord in eternity and that may be that all things work for good if we learn those lessons and continue to trust the Lord. Sometimes it's hard to do. I can imagine one of the things Chad you been very committed as a person who suffered from PTSD.

You have been an outspoken advocate for mental health.

For those suffering from PTSD speak to that passion for a minute. Explain what it is. Some people don't even really understand what happens to a person in battle yeah you know after my deployment coming home.

We PTSD with a depilatory. Three years and that would debilitating panic attacks where it literally was like I was going to die, anxiety, depression, frustration, extreme anger towards my family and anyone that love me and people closest to me and ended in a near divorce and not only that, but I ended nearly coming in veteran suicide statistic by attempting take my life in and let thankfully don't know the listeners don't know the veteran suicide rate is over 20 day and night was one of statistics and the life and some meeting people came around me and help moving forward in a recovery process and the most influential thing in my recovery was the restoration my fate and into discipleship. The local man in my church really helped me to calibrate my life intentionally collective. We must create live through calibrating the biblical principles and process upon restoration hope I found and neck on the purpose and that purpose manifested got deeper in my heart to share what I discovered with other veterans and still about 1011 years ago we started the foundation and since then I've been able to speak to 250,000 active-duty troops written several books have been will be about hundred to 2000 books to the troops and then we have a recovery program that we do not 35 cancer year with there one week long faith-based to the peer mentoring program is all about the care we had 4000 graduates but we do that thousand per year.

Now we pay for everything for me. Know your programming to pay for their flights with paper all the training we do spouse's programs and it's just been an incredible experience because of the successes we had these faith-based programs I've been able to testify before Congress and Pres. Chuck point me to be the chairman of the White House faith-based coalition during his demonstration. You really lead efforts within the DoD and VA to change policy and bring faith solutions in our veterans care system and so it's been just the amazing journey such a blessing to be elected that back in Mr. Gemma when I was given a plane to head back to the Middle East.

The last time I had been to Dubai Dubai airport I was leaving there in the most horrific level of panic attacks that you can ever imagine. Like it literally felt like I was dying a bunch about you must try to call me down so the head back there this time it hit me like I'm about to go back in the what I came from you. Please.

Years later, and I just pray to God like that, let me stay stable.

Let me stay steady.

Let me know to do what you call me Burnham heart right now. I just pray that I would have any anxiety any stress that another function at a high level like a know I can use my skills and experience that allow me to have help these people and has been the most remarkable testimony because for him on the ground. 14 days straight sleeping literally one or two hours a day and a life where you are you okay okay I like your anxiety like not one bit of anxiety, not one bit of stress so clear so focused. I believe God to spare me that resurfacing has been having healed, that times that it had anxiety and stress of last years and and he scared me that there is time to focus on the work that we went there to do with that said I could seal it since it had to be an amazing experience. But you know what a noble thing to do.

What an honorable thing to do. You and your colleagues that were able to get over 12,000 people out of Afghanistan.

The way you did, and that in such short notice.

There's a days that you worked tirelessly literally to get those people out who I'm thinking of those 20 soldiers a day's events that are taking their life. We have an audience of active and veteran military.

If there's that person who's listening Chad. What would you say to them right now you know right now with so many people try to reconcile this veterans like today. Do this for nothing to lose. My legs are nothing to lose my mind for nothing. Did I lose my friend my family member. Nothing.

It's a very tough time to reconcile it and it did there to answer such questions and you don't have to figure them out alone like you have to do this alone. You never meant to do it alone. You have to do on this people care about you. Love you, that will help you get through this deal.

Programs like audio foundation good of my yields website. What's my contact you and help you answer those questions help you navigate through this and in your body weight doesn't cost anything and people love you and are going to be there for you just have to let us know that's awesome and said I hope the focus listeners will help support you as well and be a part of that team to help people. Chad, you mentioned your family and your wife Kathy.

Your kids are two sons were Marines in today's your daughter's wedding, and you've taken some time out of this important day on Focus on the Family, no less. I gotta tell you, remember Focus on the Family today's that day and when I look at it buddy, I mean think of that. Think of where you were in the depths of despair literally and thinking about ending your own life and now you're going to stand with your daughter chokes me up thinking about it.

My friend, that's what life is about.

That's what God is about God is a God of life.

That's why we battle the way we do for the pre-born in the aged, but you can stand next your daughter today and give her way, man.

I'm so proud and proud to be a friend. And thank you for all that you've done and I hope you have the most amazing day today. Thank you, Jim think you know you listenership God bless you John, I mean you can hear that emotion in me and know from my perspective, this is the nitty-gritty of life. This is where it all kinda meets the road, and to hear from Chad to hear from him on this very important day in his life himself with his daughter's wedding is remarkable and I'm so grateful to him and all the colleagues that helped him accomplish this incredible heroic feat of getting over 12,000 people out of the country that just deserves our respect and I think the main thing here then it just touches me that when you think of family and him getting to know those families and the families he worked with in Afghanistan to help the US accomplish its mission to hopefully rid the world of terrorism. You know it's going to be debated. The actions that we've taken if they were right or wrong, but man I just so respect him for really reflecting the heart of God respecting life in every circumstance and that's an awesome thing to talk with them. Remember mighty Oaks foundation what they're doing will link to that letter website. John will give you details about that in a minute but that what an honorable organization to take care of these people. Also, I don't want to miss what Chad said there at the end about those veterans. We know a lot of veterans and their families listen to Focus on the Family we love and respect you and Chad mentioned that horrible statistic of 20 soldiers a day taking their own life.

We don't want that to happen and if we can play a role in helping you call us, we have turned Christian counselors who can pray with you and point you in the right direction. They can connect you with mighty Oaks foundation and with other groups that are helping veterans in that space, you're not alone and we want you to know that so get a hold of us are Focus on the Family and also I want to mention what Chad talked about throughout the program, which is a relationship with Jesus Christ. That's the ground floor and if you don't know the Lord. If you've been confused and don't understand where things are going in this world, we would like to introduce you to the Lord and it will change your life forever.

I mean forever and we want to be a part of. That's a call us and talk to us about accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and I would be happy to talk her number is 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 asked to schedule a time with one of her counselors or request that coming home booklet the gym just described also and have a link to Chad's organization mighty Oaks foundation this week is National suicide prevention week and as Jim said we want to remember the many veterans who are suffering in these difficult days and offer them our support. If you'd like to learn more about the rescue operation, the Chad talked about in Afghanistan. It's called save our allies will link over that letter. Episode page as well. And finally, please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters are Christian brothers and sisters and other vulnerable people, many of whom are in grave danger torment right now in Afghanistan pray for God's mercy and protection, God will reveal himself and also do so, to those who need to know on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here.

Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back tomorrow once more help your family thrive in Christ. Okay Mike got here soon as I could. What's going on hey I just want to give you an update on my marriage is a good news.

Yeah our marriage is going great right now.

I can be happier. That's awesome you.

It's like a solid five at attend. Having a marriage that's just okay is what couples really want to live. Give yourself and your spouse an all-inclusive weekend. We'll slow your pace. Focus on each other get more that's

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