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The Kabals

A kabal [an Arabic word for fortress] is a square patch of desert, about a mile on each side, with 10-foot-tall berms bulldozed to form the perimeter. The Kabals are located less than 50 miles from the Iraqi border. The Kuwaiti government has cordoned off the northern part of its country, an area of more than 1,600 square miles, where American and coalition forces are based and are training [the entire size of Kuwait is roughly 6,900 square miles].

As of late 2002 most of the troops in Kuwait lived at five kabals, desert outposts with dining facilities, air-conditioned sleeping tents, recreation facilities and storage for weapons, tanks and their armored vehicles. The kabals are named New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Virginia [the "Diamond Head" and "Hunter" are apparently inactive]. The kabals are beige cities of tents protected by a 10-foot-high sand berm. Each camp contains large areas of tents housing roughly a half-dozen soldiers apiece, mess halls, rows of portable toilets, trailers with sinks and showers and a gym. Soldiers assigned to remote sites must maintain 24-hour operations. Some units are less than 30 miles from the Iraqi border. Tents were equipped with telephones, and for recreation, there are a variety of movies, games and a computer caf.

As America prepared for war with Iraq, by early 2003 it had massed troops, helicopters and armor at bases on the Kuwait border, anchored by Camp Victory at the south and Camp Udairi in the north. In between were camps Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.

"Kabals" are the designation for some field locations in Kuwait. When soldiers land in Kuwait they pick up equipment from Camp Doha, a US military base near Kuwait City. They drive their tanks, Bradleys and Humvees nearly two hours into the desert and set up camp. The kabals are built by bulldozing mounds of sand into walls; the walls usually form a circle that is several miles in diameter. Each kabal has one or two entrances that are guarded by soldiers, and other soldiers are placed on guard duty around the perimeter or in towers. Establishing Kabals is manpower- and supply-intensive, requiring many convoys of Class IV (construction and barrier materiel) and contracted items. Combat Regeneration and Reorganization [CR2] is the redeployment of equipment, vehicles and soldiers from the Kabal.

The kabals were established shortly after Operation Desert Storm as part of a U.S. mission to protect Kuwait with a battle-ready battalion and to train service members for possible future wars against Iraq. It was where service members with M-16's slung over their shoulders simulate real-life wartime situations, testing their skills at tracking and shooting down enemies approaching the tiny, oil-rich country.

Establishing Kabals was manpower- and supply-intensive, requiring many convoys of Class IV (construction and barrier materiel) and contracted items. In response to mounting tensions between the United States and Iraq, the 1st Brigade Combat Team (1st BCT), 3d Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, GA, received an alert to deploy to Kuwait, 16 Feb 98. Multiple convoys from Camp Doha, Kuwait City and Saudi Arabia arrived at Ready Kabal daily with various supplies such as field latrines, plywood, sandbags and SCUD missile bunkers. The 203d FSB FLE had relocated most of its assets from Battle Kabal (home of Task Force 1-30 Infantry) to Ready Kabal to prepare for the 1st BCT's arrival. Three other Kabals were under development at the same time as Ready Kabal: Power Kabal for Task Force 3-69 Armor, Glory Kabal for Task Force 1-41 Field Artillery, and Baylor Kabal for Task Force 3-7 Infantry. Battle Kabal for Task Force 1-30 Infantry was fairly mature because of Operation Intrinsic Action. Two LOGPACs (morning and evening) were pushed every day from Camp Doha to Ready Kabal. Camp Doha was the MSB or CSB throughout the deployment.

The Kabals were where some of the most forward-deployed troops in Kuwait live and work during their rotation. The soldiers lived in large air-conditioned tents, and they are provided basic amenities such as trailers with showers and latrines, a tent with recreational equipment, a shoppette and a chapel tent. Every two weeks, finance, personnel and Red Cross representatives visited the area to make sure the soldiers have what they need.

ARCENT-KU continued to perfect the Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration (RSOI) process for the rest of the US Army. The RSOI process melded pre-positioned TOE (Table of Organizational Equipment) equipment with an arriving unit. Once in country, the RSOI process equiped and arms battalion to brigade-sized Task Force elements or greater within a short period of time. Pre-positioned equipment included M1A1 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley fighting vehicles as well as other armor, tank, artillery and engineer sets. Reception starts when soldiers or equipment land at one of Kuwait's ports of debarkation. Equipment, bags and supplies were palletized and prepared for convoy to Camp Doha's drawing lot. At the drawing lot, soldiers drew their equipment. This stage was not finished until all units had completed the draw and uploaded all combat equipment. All equipment received preventive maintenance checks and services prior to departing. Onward movement beganswith convoy operations to the marshaling area. Supplies and equipment are loaded onto trucks, and tracked vehicles are loaded onto heavy equipment transports. The convoys then moved to their positions in the desert to begin training or contingency operations. This phase ends with the downloading of assets and tactical road march to the Kabal. The final phase, integration, is the tactical fusion of the arriving units into the Kuwait defensive plan. Training - at the individual and unit level - takes place at the multi-service and multi-national level.

During the February 1998 Operation Desert Thunder the 203d FSB FLE relocated most of its assets from Battle Kabal (home of Task Force 1-30 Infantry) to Ready Kabal to prepare for the 1st BCT's arrival. Three other Kabals were under development at the same time as Ready Kabal: Power Kabal for Task Force 3-69 Armor, Glory Kabal for Task Force 1-41 Field Artillery, and Baylor Kabal for Task Force 3-7 Infantry. Battle Kabal for Task Force 1-30 Infantry was fairly mature because of Operation Intrinsic Action. Two LOGPACs (logistics packages of supplies) deployed daily to Ready Kabal for resupply. The LOGPACs primarily consisted of Class I (rations), bottled water, Class II (general supplies) Class III petroleum, Class IV (construction and barrier materiel), Class VI (personal demand items or sundry packs), and Class IX (repair parts). Each LOGPAC traveled about 80 kilometers (49 miles) in 2 hours on a combination of hardened and sandy trails to Ready Kabal with a Military Police escort. Ready Kabal was at the end of the truck convoy's route that had other stops along the way. The soldiers of the 1st BCT and the 3d FSB remained in Kuwait as a deterrent to Iraqi threats until mid-July 1998, when Operation Intrinsic Action began.

During Desert Spring 2002, the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mech), operated from Camps New York and Virginia. Camp Virginia is a logistics and medical base. Camp Pennsylvania is the location that Task Force 1-64 of the 3rd Mech's 2nd BDE Combat Team operates from.

On July 31, 2003 a wind-driven fire raced across a section of Camp Champion, consuming 21 tents in about 20 minutes before it was stopped by military and Kuwaiti firefighters. The fire, still under investigation, apparently was caused by faulty wiring in an empty tent. The tent was in the "sterilized" section of the camp, called such because it is where U.S. Customs agents-usually specially-trained military police-check for contraband items as redeploying soldiers process through before leaving theater on return to home station. There have been several tent fires in Kuwait and Iraq, most involving contractor-supplied tents that do not have the same flame-retardant material that the military-issued tents have.

An incomplete list of tent fires in theater included the following: In Camp Victory, Kuwait, 11 tents burned in a fire, displacing 600 soldiers. Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait lost seven tents in January. At Camp Udari, a dining facility composed of three tents burned to the ground after a welder's spark set it aflame. In Iraq, a tent at Camp Commando burned down. At Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, the British lost a tent, and a tent in the Truckville section of the camp burned down. Camp Virginia lost a tent to fire, displacing 80 soldiers and destroying their belongings. Camp Patriot lost three tents and Camp Coyote lost several tents. The Kuwaiti Naval Base also has had a tent fire involving the U.S. military. Most fires have started due to improper electrical wiring connections.

 



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