ARCENT Saudi Arabia (ARCENT-SA)
The mission of the United States Army Forces Central Command - Saudi Arabia (ARCENT-SA), a major deployed subordinate element of the United States Army Forces Command (ARCENT) is to provide antiballistic missile defense to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Emirate of Kuwait, and, on order, to other locations and allies in Southwest Asia using Patriot Missile units. ARCENT-SA maintains a forward headquarters for coordination and interaction with our allies in the region to provide the support and assistance they request. ARCENT-SA exercises command, control, and force protection over assigned and attached Army forces in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It also provides installation services for Army and other U.S. forces and allied forces and agencies in Saudi Arabia, and maintains liaison with principal military and civil organizations in the area of operations (AOR) for responsive support to meet their goals.
Army Forces Central Command - Saudi Arabia (ARCENT-SA) got its start as part of the 22d SUPCOM during Operation Desert Shield / Storm in 1990-1991. After Desert Storm, mission responsibilities transferred from 22d SUPCOM to 1st ASG in January 1992. ARCENT-SA was officially formed with its separate mission and organization in July 1992.
Since its formation in July 1992, ARCENT-SA has controlled a differing array of units and organizations, numbering over 1100 soldiers as of 1998, in support of its mission of being the forward deployed headquarters for Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT) at Fort McPherson, GA. Its units have been stationed all across the AOR, but its main concentration of soldiers is now in the vicinity of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Besides the rotational Patriot Task Force, other subordinate units include the 54th Signal Battalion, a rotational Security Force from the XVIII Airborne Corps that provides force protection to the Patriot sites, and an aerial MEDEVAC unit. The 54th Signal Battalion provides all tactical and strategic communications support for the theater.
ARCENT-SA represents one of three Third U.S. Army/U.S. Army Forces Central Command forward deployed organizations. Subordinate organizations to ARCENT-SA include deployed units rotating as task forces (TF) for various missions from home bases in the United States or Europe. Other units are stationed in Saudi Arabia with permanent personnel assigned primarily for command, control, and communications support for U.S. and Allied Forces including the Saudi Arabia National Guard.
Soldiers assigned to ARCENT fall into three broad categories: Permanent party, Augmentees and rotating units. Permanent party soldiers are on PCS orders. Augmentees (often Reservists and Guardsmen) and rotating units are on TDY or TCS orders. This distinction is an important one, as it determines for example, financial entitlements. Generally speaking, think of augmentees and rotating units as similar. Permanent party soldiers and civilians assigned to ARCENT-SA live and work primarily on Eskan Village. Permanent party and TDY personnel normally have private bedroom and either a private or shared latrine. Each villa has a kitchen, living room, and dining room. We provide every soldier with a color television with cable hook-up. The billets are compatible with standard U.S. appliances (normal U.S. 60-cycle 110-volt electrical power). Some soldiers live and work at PSAB. Similar facilities exist for PSAB. Permanent structures for housing are now open at PSAB and are quite comfortable.
Third U.S. Army/U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT) established their main headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in August 1990 with the start of Operation Desert Shield which preceded the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The main headquarters of ARCENT-SA was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with responsibilities for the soldiers deployed into the theater through out Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and actions following the cessation of hostilities. American troop units rotated through Saudi Arabia to support redeployment and battlefield restoration operations in Kuwait.
In the late summer of 1991, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia requested immediate assistance from the United States to provide protection from ballistic missile threats to their country. The U.S. Army quickly responded by deploying two PATRIOT Air Defense Artillery Battalions from Europe with a brigade headquarters in October 1991.
In July 1992, Army Forces Central Command - Saudi Arabia (ARCENT-SA) was formally established. Then ARCENT-SA was assigned a dual role as the daily brigade command for the PATRIOT Air Defense Artillery Battalion Task Force rotating in and out of Saudi Arabia as well as the forward deployed headquarters for the Army Forces Central Command with multiple critical logistical responsibilities for contingency operations.
ARCENT-SA was initially stationed at the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran, and its soldiers lived and endured through the Khobar Towers bomb tragedy in June 1996. Immediately after the Khobar Towers bombing, as part of Operation Desert Focus, ARCENT-SA moved to more secure sites at Eagle Town on King Abdul Aziz Airbase while its headquarters remained at Lucky Base/Site 12 in Dhahran, KSA. In December 1997, ARCENT-SA was ordered to relocate all forces out of the Eastern Province no later than 15 March 1998. ARCENT-SA safely moved all personnel and equipment out of the Eastern Province on schedule with the headquarter's elements moving to Eskan Village.
During the large scale contingency deployment of Allied Forces into the theater in the spring of 1998 the size of ARCENT-SA increased while at the same time relocating their headquarters from the Eastern Province to its present location in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. During the last relocation ARCENT-SA maintained a their 24-hour PATRIOT missile shield in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain while closing its installations in the Eastern Province and safely moving soldiers and civilian technicians as well as over a billion dollars of equipment safely without incident.
Since 1990, the PATRIOT Missile Defense remains a constant shield against SCUD and other missile or aircraft attacks directed against our Allied Forces. To this end, the soldiers and civilians of ARCENT-SA remain dedicated and vigilant to ensure safe entry for reinforcement by coalition forces if ever needed.
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