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For God and Country: Eggers among last to leave Afghanistan

By Teresa P. Crowder
Freelance Writer

As a student at Johnson County High School, Margaret Eggers, as I remember her, was carefree, spontaneous, full of personality, eager to help, and full of energy and spunk.Those were the days we all seem to ponder and reminisce at times as we reconnect and find out where life has taken us thus far on our journey to adulthood. Some of us take paths beyond our county, city, state, and even country. It is the path Major Margaret Eggers has forged with her dedication and drive to serve her country.

Eggers began her service here with the National Guard in 1992. During this time of service, she also started the dutiful balance of motherhood and nursing student. Later, after she obtained her nursing license, Eggers felt led to serve in the Army. In 2015, she was deployed with the 946 Forward Recitation Surgical Team to Jalalabad, Afghanistan. 

While in Jalalabad, a bomb exploded near the location Eggers was occupying, resulting in what she refers to as an “earth-shaking moment.”  

“I thought, what am I doing?” she said. “I then decided I needed to be home and more devoted to my son, Hank, and to my church as my faith in God is unwavering.” 

Major Margaret Eggers with her son, Hank.

The dreadful event was an “awakening.” In March 2021, Eggers was deployed to Afghanistan once again to the city of Kabul. She began right away with her medical companions assessing the situation and location they were assigned to serve. The Norwegians already stationed in Kabul had taken the lead in providing care. After some time, the Air Force began to aid in the support effort as well. Eggers was then designated the American Senior Nurse Officer. She began to work with the Norwegian and Air Force medical leads in providing and organizing care and being privy to information related to the desperation and concerns of the Afgan people as a whole and the Taliban tension outside the hospital. 

The hospital where Eggers and her Kabul colleagues worked was located next to the Kabul International Airport (formerly known as Hamid Karzai International Airport. Margaret and the medical staff ran the trauma bays, provided 24-hour services for COVID-19 treatment from the embassies, provided vaccinations and testing at the camps and for the locals, and provided primary sick care for those who entered the doors of the hospital. The hospital was an obvious potential target.  Along with the daily business of caring for others, the staff had to be diligent in being prepared for the worst, a takeover. As the threat of the Taliban grew, so did the planning to escape to another predetermined location.

Reportedly, on August 15, 2021, when the Taliban took Kabul, the embassy began the evacuation effort, and the sirens alerted all to the ground attack taking place outside. The situation was the beginning of the droves of displaced children. Some children were injured, others were seeking refuge at the hospital. The status reportedly became so dire that the hospital essentially served as a daycare center. The suicide bombing occurred on August 26, 2021.

According to troops on the ground, including Eggers, the hospital was told to receive up to 21 United States soldiers. 

“My heart just sank,” Eggers said. “I was, at one point, looking up and talking to Jesus. Are we really doing this? ‘Yes,’ He said. I put on my armor of God and got to work”.

That night, Eggers and the medical staff reportedly received a total of 70 soldiers in the trauma bay, Afgan adults and children. They even delivered a baby that night.  Through all the challenges she faced, Margaret was never afraid. “I always felt God right with me,” Eggers said. 

As a devoted and dedicated mom, soldier, and friend to many, Eggers has made good use of her personal and professional attributes. The future is bright and full of joy as she embraces the young man her son Hank has become. As a resilient young man growing up with a talented and driven mother full of faith and love, Hank is ready for his journey with the Navy Seals. The exact type of family tradition of serving and loving others is a legacy Johnson County can be proud of.

Johnson County native Major Margaret Eggers began her service with the National Guard in 1992. Submitted photos