The Duchess of Cambridge will return to royal duties on Wednesday with a visit to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire to meet with some of the military personnel who had been involved with the evacuation of Afghanistan.
The evacuation, officially known as Operation Pitting, was the largest humanitarian aid operation in over 70 years, involving the evacuation of 15,000 people from Kabul, Afghanistan, from 14-28 August.
The Royal Air Force flew 15,000 people out of the country and transported over 850 at RAF Brize Norton, who were treated at the base with food and clothing, medical supplies and support, and other items as they were brought into the country.
During her visit, Kate will meet with military personnel and civilians directly involved in Operation Pitting, including RAF aircrew and medics, and civilians and volunteers at the base who provided supplies and support when the evacuees landed in the UK.
According to Kensington Palace, every base unit at RAF Brize Norton was involved in Operation Pitting, “with personnel supporting the operation alongside the Royal Navy, British Army, local authorities and aid organisations in Afghanistan and the UK.”
The full fleet was tasked in the operation around the clock “to support the evacuation, including a record flight for an RAF C17 Globemaster, which took 439 passengers out of Kabul on a single flight. Aircraft involved in the operation also carried supplies ranging from clothing and baby food for the evacuees.”
RAF Brize Norton is the UK’s largest RAF station, operating with 8,500 personnel. Per the Royal Air Force website, the base provides “rapid global mobility in support of UK overseas operations and exercises, as well as AAR support for fast jet aircraft both on operations and in support of UK Homeland Defence.”
This will be Kate’s first engagement after the summer holidays—her last official appearance came at the Wimbledon Men’s Singles final and the European Championships football match on 11 July.