Kalamazoo-area man returns from Afghanistan

Kalamazoo County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo County man is on the ground in the United States after getting out of Afghanistan.

Jeff Gray was a contract worker in Afghanistan and landed at Dulles International Airport near Washington earlier on Wednesday.

Gray is one of thousands of Americans who got out as the Taliban regained control.

“It was time to leave. It was time to go,” Gray told a crew from NBC News Channel after arriving at the airport. “It was not sustainable anymore.  

“I would say it was very comparable to Saigon,” Gray continued, comparing the situation in the Afghanistan capitol city of Kabul to another historical fall 46 years ago.

Civilian contractors providing maintenance training, advising on combat missions and other functions have been a big part of the U.S. effort to rebuild Afghanistan.

But Gray says the U.S. withdrawal has made a dangerous situation worse. 

“It’s sketchy, you feel vulnerable having to evacuate somewhere you’re just a civilian, you’re not carrying a gun anymore. And then you have to basically leave because there’s fire fights breaking out,” Gray said. “You don’t have any other bases or assets in the area anymore. You feel like maybe it’s the Alamo, the last stand, that’s it. You don’t have any other support elements out there.”

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