Amidst renewed attacks on Israel by Islamist extremists, a considerable number of American citizens find themselves stranded in the nation. Initially, President Biden’s response was limited to urging them to secure a flight, a directive issued hours after major U.S. airlines had halted all services to Tel Aviv.
However, one Republican legislator chose not to passively wait for the administration to take more effective action. Instead, he has made a habit of taking matters into his own hands.
In August 2021, with the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban seized power and regained control of the collapsing nation. During the tumultuous evacuation process, a substantial number of American citizens became stranded, with many unable to reach Kabul airport for evacuation flights, and some seemingly left unnoticed.
Among those affected was Mariam, an Afghan-American residing in close proximity to Dallas, who had traveled to Kabul with her three children to visit her parents. Her representative in Congress is Representative Ronny Jackson (R-TX), and upon learning of her situation, he relayed the information to a fellow House member, Cory Mills (R-FL).
Mills, a former member of the 82nd Airborne Division with experience in parachute operations, swiftly took decisive steps. He mobilized an interpreter, journeyed to Afghanistan, located Mariam, and, faced with the inaccessibility of the airport, guided them on an overland route out of Afghanistan. As a result, Mariam is now secure in her home in Texas.
When conflict erupted in Israel and President Biden appeared to face limitations in rescuing American citizens, Mills took action once again. On October 10, he embarked on a journey to Jordan and crossed into Israel. There, he successfully located 32 U.S. citizens he had managed to identify. These were individuals striving to depart the besieged nation but were unable to secure tickets for the remaining available flights.
Mills simply arranged for a bus and, the following day, transported the evacuees to Amman, Jordan, where they could arrange their journeys back to the United States. On October 12, he repeated this effort, bringing back an additional 45 Americans before returning to the U.S. to contribute to the election of a new House speaker.
In an interview with Fox News while in Israel, Mills addressed a rumor about the administration’s intentions to employ charter flights for the evacuation of approximately 16,000 remaining Americans in Israel. It’s important to note that not all of them may be willing or able to depart, particularly dual citizens who also serve as Israeli military reservists. Nevertheless, Mills expressed concerns regarding the plan, highlighting the potential shortcomings. He emphasized that in the event of Hezbollah initiating attacks on Israel from the north, with artillery or rockets targeting the airport, this could significantly impede the evacuation process.
Fortunately, Mills was ready to risk his own safety to facilitate the evacuation of 77 Americans. The first chartered flight for the evacuation of American citizens from Israel took off on Friday, October 13.