King Abdul Aziz International Airport
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
King Fahd Naval Base
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Jeddah Airbase at Jeddah houses the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) 4th and 20th transport squadrons (C-130s). The Royal Saudi Air Defense Force (RSADF) 2nd (Western) Air Defense Group at Jeddah consists of 3 Hawk batteries, 2 Oerlikon batteries, 1 Crotale battery, 1 Shahine battalion, 1 Oerlikon battalion, 2/30 mm Sabre batteries, and the Air Defense Institute.
The United States Military Training Mission (USMTM) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a joint training mission under the command of Headquarters, United States Central Command, (USCENTCOM) MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. The Chief of USMTM also serves as the United States Department of Defense Representative for Saudi Arabia. The USMTM Air Force Division has supporting detachments at Taif, Dhahran, Khamis Mushayt, and Jeddah. Personnel work directly with their RSAF Headquarters counterparts on all logistics, operational, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) issues. In addition, E3A/KE-3A Extended Training Service Specialists (ETSS) personnel provide training and assistance to the RSAF in a variety of flying operations out of Riyadh Air Base. F-15 operations are supported by US Air Force personnel at Dhahran and Khamis Mushayt. RF-5 operations are supported at Taif, while C-130 operations are supported at Jeddah and Riyadh. Detachment Commanders (DETCO) serve as advisors to Saudi Air Base Area Chiefs and supervise ETSS personnel in the area.
On the compound are tennis courts, squash courts, a restaurant, six lane bowling alley, game room, Nautilus exercise facility, a whirlpool, a sauna, laundry/dry cleaners, several swimming pools, a weight room, a small Safeway supermarket and a boutique. These facilities are maintained by Arabian Homes, which is a British firm. Area attractions include shopping in the local souks (markets) which have a wide variety of merchandise from around the world. Restaurants serving American, Asian, European, and Middle Eastern foods are abundant in the city. An AAFES site Annex, located at the Arabian Homes, provides limited sundry-type Exchange services to active duty military and DOD civilians. Items not available may be special ordered at the PX or through the AAFES catalog.
Tankers played crucial roles in three different aspects of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm: the rapid deployment of large coalition military forces to the region, the sustained readiness of the forces, and the use of forces in large and complex combat operations. Elements of the 190th had been the first tankers to arrive at Jeddah in August 1990. They played a lead role in the 1709th Air Refueling Wing (Provisional). That composite organization represented a new way of doing business by temporarily blending the three major organizational components of the Total Air Force for the duration of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf crisis. The wing consisted of Air Guard tankers from several states as well as those from the Air Force Reserve and the active Air Force. The 1709th was one of the largest aerial tanker task forces ever assembled. Its intense tanker operations were conducted around-the-clock. Elements of all 13 tanker units then in the Air Guard's force structure participated in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf crisis. The critical support which Air National Guard tankers provided during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm was one of the keys to the Allied air campaign. Those tankers carried on a long Air National Guard tradition of dedicated service to the states and nation.
Patrol Wing TEN provides support to forces around the world, including detachment sites in Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T.; Bahrain; Misawa, Japan; Kadena, Japan; Masirah, Oman and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and continues daily peacetime operations from the Eastern Pacific to the Persian Gulf in America's first line of defense.
Patrol Squadron Twenty-Three (VP-23) conducted deployments to Sigonella, Sicily, with a detachment operating from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation Desert Storm. On 4 August 1990, VP-1 was fully redeployed to Diego Garcia and maintained detachments in Masirah, Oman and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in support of joint maritime interdiction operations in conjunction with Operation DESERT SHIELD. VP-1 was the first patrol squadron to make such a short notice surge into the desert theater, and flew over 200 surface surveillance missions.
In 1993 VP-24, "Batmen" from Jacksonville, Florida deployed to Sigonella, Italy, from where PATRON DET CHARLIE in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia operated in support of maritime interdiction ops in the Red Sea. In May of 1995, VP-47 returned from WESTPAC deployment to Diego Garcia where they had been conducting demanding detachments to Masirah, Kadena and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During this deployment, the "Golden Swordsmen" were awarded the 1994 Donald M. Neal "Golden Wrench" Award for maintenance excellence, their third such award in six years. They were also awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for distinguished service while supporting efforts to extract personnel and equipment from Somalia under hostile conditions during Operation United Shield.
The mission of the Western Sector (WS) Branch is to advise and assist the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) in the Western Sector. SANG's mission includes defense of the two holiest Islamic sites located in Mecca and Medina. The SANG WS currently consists of a Region Headquarters, two Light Infantry Brigades, a separate Light Infantry Battalion, a Military Police battalion, the Guard Battalion, a Signal Unit, logistics support elements, 8 irregular Fowj elements, and service units. In addition to the four officers, two NCOs, and two clerical positions, the OPM advisors are assisted by one OPM Language Specialist and seven contractor interpreter/translators.
The office is within walking distance of the living quarters and is a 20 to 30 minute commute from SANG WS Headquarters. Other SANG elements in the WS are located 30 to 400 km from Jeddah. Housing is excellent. OPM personnel live in fully furnished villas in Jeddah's premier expatriate compound. The privately run Arabian Homes compound is a self-contained community of over 500 villas with pools, tennis and squash courts, a six-lane bowling alley, restaurant, convenience store, travel agency and many other recreation services. Residents enjoy television service on seven closed-circuit channels including AFRTS.
An APO and a small PX are located on the Arabian Homes compound. For commissary products, shopping is available through a weekly down-range shopping service from Riyadh. However, local supermarkets are well stocked with American and European products. Routine health care and dental services are available to OPM-SANG personnel through the Ghassan N. Pharaon Hospital located five minutes from the Arabian Homes compound. King Khalid National Guard Hospital offers hospitalization/tertiary care and is located some forty-five minutes away. The CHAMPUS benefits program is in effect within the Kingdom. As in the USA, the closest available hospital may be used for bona fide emergencies.
Jeddah is located on the coast of the Red Sea, on the western side of Saudi Arabia. It is Saudi Arabia's largest city, as well as its greatest commercial center. The cosmopolitan city boasts over a million inhabitants, a large percentage of whom are foreigners. It is fairly modern, most of it dating only from the 1950s. The population is a nice mix of nationalities, and the local religious culture is less restrictive than in most other parts of the Kingdom. "Jeddah" is variously spelled Jiddah, Juddah, and Jeddah. It is one of the world's oldest inhabited places, and is a centuries old route to Mecca for pilgrims throughout the Islamic world. Tradition says that Eve was buried in Jeddah after she left the Garden of Eden. The climate in Jeddah is hot and humid year round. Heat and humidity are typical of the summers. Winters are mild with cool nights.
Ample shopping and restaurants, including many continental, seafood, Asian and fast food types, are available. Jeddah is located on the Red Sea, which boasts some of the most spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling in the world. A day trip to the nearby mountains of Taif and Asir brings welcome hot weather relief. Jeddah's role as port-of-entry for more than two million Moslem pilgrims a year has forged excellent air travel links with cities around the globe. The city's charm, its recreational offerings, and its excellent airline connections abroad make it, according to many, the best place to live in Saudi Arabia.
The mountains in the southwest provide a respite from the heat in the summer. There are also short trips that can be made into the desert to explore ruins, geological formations and historical sites. There is an US military sponsored beach facility in Dhahran. The opportunity to travel in the Middle East is available during a tour in Saudi Arabia. Dubai, Oman and Jordan are popular destinations. Within Saudi Arabia there are interesting regions to explore.
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