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'The world gets so much smaller': Image of Afghans clinging to C-17 hits home in Pierce County

c-17 leaves afghanistan with people surrounding it
A screengrab from a video shows Afghans surrounding a C-17 taking off from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 16. That specific C-17 is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

You’ve probably seen the viral video of desperate Afghans clinging to a U.S. military cargo jet at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul two weeks ago.

When Grit City Magazine editor and Navy veteran Sierra Hartman saw it, he recognized the plane right away – because C-17 No. 1109 is based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. For years, he's seen that C-17 and others circle over his home in South Tacoma.

Hartman told KNKX South Sound reporter Kari Plog about what it’s like inside the planes and what it’s like to see something connected to home, suddenly an iconic image at the end of a war.

Kari Plog is a former KNKX reporter who covered the people and systems in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties, with an emphasis on police accountability.