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Camp Colt

Camp Colt was located about 60 miles north of Tuzla in Bosnia. Camp Colt was a facility located in the northern section of the United States' Multinational Division (MND) North. The facility was established in the December 1995 through December 1996 timeframe as part of IFOR, Operation Joing Endeavor. Due to force reorganizations within the OJG mission area, the soldiers of Camp Colt were forced to relocate all equipment to Camp McGovern where services would be resumed. On 29 July 1998 the Camp Colt facility closed.

At the end of World War I, Dwight David Eisenhower, General of the Army and the thirty-fourth President of the United States, was in command of Camp Colt, the Army's tank corps training center on the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg. During Desert Storm, Camp Colt was a scout training camp for reservists reporting to active duty.

A Company, 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment (Air Traffic Services) at Camp Colt operated the only US Army air traffic control site between Tazar, Hungary, where at Barcs "Eagle Radio" operates, and the Commanche Tower near Tuzla. The controllers were responsible for a giant boot-shaped area including the US sector in Bosnia and a corridor through eastern Croatia. Under the call sign "Guardian Radio," the 58th assisted aircraft 16 hours a day, seven days a week. The "radar approach" operation was concerned with getting the aircraft safely on the ground from a point in the sky no matter what the weather conditions. The controllers at Camp Colt used "Precision Approach Radar" to assist pilots as they approach the flight line. This procedure brings in the aircraft from 3000 feet to 50 feet of the ground at a three-degree angle.

Camp Colt, Bosnia-Herzegovina, began in as nothing more than a flight following facility capable of providing radar traffic advisories to transient aircraft. By late July, when the facility was forced to consolidate on another base camp, the facility provided flight following, terminal tower services and most importantly, IFR certified PAR and NDB terminal equipment. The Camp Colt ATS facility consisted of two AN/TPN-71B ground controlled radars, one AN/TSW-7A tactical control tower, one AN/TSQ-61B flight following shelter, three V2 navigational beacons and various pieces of generation and wheeled vehicles worth in excess of six million dollars. Although only one radar and beacon were operated, additional assets were utilized for trouble shooting and immediate part replacement. Additionally, 26 soldiers and airmen pooled from throughout USAREUR, USAFE, and FORSCOM represented the tower, radar, weather station and communications electronics sections. The facility itself was located at a distance of four hours by ground convoy from company headquarters. Due to its remote location, a four soldier team from F/58th Aviation, Ft. Rucker provided depot level support to the two tactical radars and three V2 beacons that required extensive maintenance in the harsh conditions. Camp Colt was also the only aviation support facility north of Tuzla providing services to all aviation assets in support of OJG.

The facilities located at Camp Colt demonstrated technical competence as well as a commitment to mission accomplishment. The controllers at Camp Colt, Bosnia successfully prepared the tactical Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) radar for a comprehensive flight check. As a direct result of their efforts, the GCA passed two consecutive flight checks to exacting Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) standards conducted by the United States Army Air Traffic Control Activity (USAATCA) from Fort Rucker, Alabama. This accomplishment brought to fruition the Battalion's goal of having an operational GCA at Camp Colt. The flight check of the GCA and the non-directional beacon (NDB) became the foundation of the sorely needed IFR route structure. Upon completion of the flight check, the controllers at Camp Colt implemented class D and E airspace procedures for visual flight rules (VFR), special VFR, and IFR air traffic. Camp Colt GCA controlled 260 incident free air traffic movements and achieved a phenomenal 98% operational readiness rate for the Army's oldest and most labor intensive piece of ATS equipment. The soldiers at Camp Colt installed an airfield rotating beacon, tactical helipad lighting, and heavy gauge copper radials for the non-directional beacon (NDB) - marking the heliport for tactical aviation operations in marginal Bosnian weather conditions. Due to the harsh Bosnian winters, the soldiers at Camp Colt erected a radome (with heaters) which reduced environmental effects on the radar. The control tower also provided critical flight following services to aircraft performing sensitive border crossing operations from Croatia to Bosnia. Coordinating with the Army Flight Following Center (FCC) in Barcs, Hungary, and air traffic control facilities in Bosnia, the control tower section safely and expeditiously controlled in excess of 7,500 aircraft movements.

On 14 September 1998 a nine-member team of Combat Service Support Control System (CSSCS) technical experts arrived at Task Force Eagle to assist the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Forward) with the system's setup and installation. The systems were distributed as follows: Camp Demi (1), Camp Dobol (1), Camp McGovern (1), Camp Bedrock (1), Camp Comanche (4) and Eagle Base (2). The logistics management plan called for the four outlying camps - Demi, Dobol, McGovern and Bedrock - to transmit their supply status to the 1st Brigade (BDE). The 1st BDE would then transmit the data to the 115th Forward Support Battalion (FSB) and onward to the Division Materiel Management Center (DMMC). In turn, the DMMC would forward the data directly to the Division G4. The 615th FSB and 4th BDE, respectively, would send their data directly to the Division G4 Support Operations CSSCS at Eagle Base. In addition, the Division G4 would receive maintenance input from the DMMC and property book status from the Standard Property Book System - Redesign (SPBS-R) at the Eagle Base Property Book Office. The entire CSSCS network was linked together by a secure communications Tactical Land (TACLAN) line using Multiple Subscriber Equipment (MSE). Implementation plans originally called for the CSSCS to operate in a classified, Secret Releasable Forces (SECRET RELFOR) mode. SECRET RELFOR denotes classified information accessible to all Multinational Stabilization Forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment (ATS) command and control was exercised by the company headquarters section operating at Comanche Base Camp. The company operated an air traffic control tower at Comanche Base Camp in 1998. The control tower team at Comanche Base operated the busiest Army heliport in theater. The controllers expeditiously controlled over 12,500 aircraft movements during the rotation. The controllers at Comanche improved the "foxhole" by installing an airport rotating beacon and also improved the safety of the facility by installing a lightning rod system for the tower structure. The control tower developed new heliport procedures to accommodate the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior aircraft that replaced the AH-64 Apache. The new procedures were required due to the limitations of the Kiowa Warriors and the increased number of aircraft operating out of Comanche Base. Improved special VFR procedures were also implemented between Comanche Tower and Tuzla Tower (located less than 3 miles away).

During late 1998 and early 1999, Task Force Eagle received the most significant construction mission since US forces arrived in Bosnia. To improve efficiency, save money, and realign base camps, Task Force Eagle closed the Colt and Guardian Base Camps. These closures required that the entire logistics operations be moved from Guardian to Comanche Base Camp. A massive construction effort was required at Comanche that included living areas, a container storage handling area, a direct support maintenance building, a supply and service area building, 50-ton haul roads, a new dining facility, parking areas, and numerous other projects. Some of this construction had to be completed or be well under way so that the 1st Cavalry Division could move directly into Comanche and Eagle Base Camps.

 



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