FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — As evacuations continue in Kabul a Fort Wayne man who has boots on the ground in Afghanistan with the United States Army shared how he and his fellow service members are coping after a tragedy.
Dillon Henschen has served with the army for three years now and stationed in Afghanistan since March. Henschen joined the military, following in the footsteps of his dad and older brother, because he saw it as a way to provide better opportunities to himself and his family.
He can’t share many details because of security concerns but said that seeing the deteriorating situation in the country in person is a different experience than seeing it on your phone or TV.
“It was devastating,” said Henschen. “A lot of us out here we’ve been going through a lot of dramatic experiences and we’ve seen a lot of excruciating things but, I mean, getting to a point where we lost 13 people was really tough.”
That loss happened on Thursday after two suicide bombings near the Kabul airport where evacuations are taking place. Then on Friday, Henschen and his fellow soldiers found comfort in their sadness through music.
“I just started with grabbing a guitar out of the corner, and it had a lot of dust on it,” Henschen said. “I played for a long time and hadn’t picked one up in a while, so I just banged the dust off of it and started playing a few songs and the people just started congregating in that area. I think we all needed it, just the sense of light and peace and happiness, from what we could anyway.”
He said it was a great feeling to have them all come together and have a good time after such a sad event. A friend filmed the performance and to HEnschen’s surprise, their impromptu concert resonated with people back home.
“My Facebook just blew up,” said Henschen, after his video was shared hundreds of times in less than a day. “People from back home, veterans reached out, family members of the service members that I’m serving with here. So it was all around a good thing for everybody.”
His message for people stateside as the end-of-month exit deadline gets closer?
“We’re safe and we’ll be home as soon as we can.,” Henschen said. “We’re doing our best out here to provide support.”
See the full performance below: