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Operation Anatolian Protector

On 4 December 2012, NATO ministers of foreign affairs agreed to augment Turkey's air defense capabilities by deploying Patriot missiles to the country. The situation along NATO's south-eastern border with respect to Syria, and the repeated violations of Turkeys territory raised grave concern. Under the agreement, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States would provide Patriot missile batteries, subject to their respective national procedures. It was announced on 22 December 2012 that Germany would deploy its batteries to Kahramanmaras (Kahramanmaras Airport - 3734'N Longitude 3655'E), the Netherlands would deploy its batteries to Adana (Incirlik Air Base - 3700'N 3526'E), and the United States would deploy its batteries to Gaziantep (Oguzeli Airport - 3703'N 3713'E). Once deployed, the systems would be under the operational command of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR).

The Patriots would have a purely defensive task and would not support an offensive operation or enforcement of a no-fly zone. Germany, the United States, and the Netherlands were the only Allies which had the state-of-the-art PAC III missile system. An important consideration for the Dutch government decision was solidarity with its NATO partner, on the basis of the right to collective self-defense (Article 51 of the UN Charter).

The Dutch government approved the delivery of 2 Patriot missile batteries to Turkey to boost its air defenses along the border with Syria on 8 December 2012. The Dutch Cabinet said it would commit a maximum of 360 troops to operate the Patriot systems under a year-long NATO mandate. The German government agreed to send 2 Patriot batteries and up to 400 troops (including those operating NATO E-3 aircraft) to support the mission in Turkey until 31 January 2014. On 14 December 2012, the US announced it would send 2 batteries of defensive Patriot missiles to Turkey. During a visit to a US base in Turkey, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he was ordering the missiles and 400 military personnel be sent to Turkey. The Patriot missile units would be sent from Germany and the Netherlands.

US troops began deploying in Turkey on 5 January 2013, to operate Patriot missile-launch batteries to defend against threats from the conflict in Turkey's neighbor Syria. German and Dutch soldiers were expected to start deploying to Turkey within days. The 6 Patriot batteries were scheduled to be operational by the end of January 2013. US forces came from US Forces Command's 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command and US Army, Europe's 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, as well as from the 44th Signal Battalion (Expeditionary). The 10th AAMDC would provide command and control for the 2 US Patriot missile batteries from the 32nd AAMDC. The approximately 300 Dutch military personnel to be deployed would come from the defense Ground-based Air Defence Command at the 'Luitenant-generaal Best' Barracks in Vredepeel. The approximately 400 German military personnel to be deployed would come from the Luftwaffe's Flugabwehrraketengruppen (Air Defense Group) 21 (Sanitz) and 24 (Bad Slze) from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

For US forces the mission came with an 18-day alert and notice to deploy to Turkey in support of NATO's mission. Elements of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment from Fort Sill Oklahoma, an element of the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, assigned to the 32nd AAMDC, deployed to Turkey via Altus Air Force Base, with the help of the US Air Force's 97th Air Mobility Wing. Twenty-one missions were executed out of Altus Air Force Base in response to the deployment to Turkey.

On 7 January 2013, escorted by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, 2 Dutch Patriot units left for the port of Eemshaven near Delfzijl to be shipped to Turkey. A total of 150 vehicles and 130 trailers would transport the missile defense materiel via the A50 and the A28 highways to the seaport. The 2 Patriot air defense systems, including radar stations and launch installations, would move in 6 convoys of 25 vehicles and around 20 trailers each. At the port of Eemshaven, the materiel would be loaded onto a cargo ship and then travel, accompanied by 5 military personnel, to Turkey, where it was expected to arrive on 22 January 2013. In addition, on 8 January 2013, some 30 Dutch and 20 German quartermasters were to leave from Eindhoven Air Base to make preparations for the mission. The main force of around 270 Dutch military personnel would follow on 21 January 2013.

The final of 6 Patriot missile batteries deployed to Turkey in support of Operation Anatolian Protector was declared operational under NATO command and control on 15 February 2013. The battery, provided by the United States, was located outside the city of Gaziantep.

On 13 December 2013, elements of 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, part of the 10th Army Air And Missile Defense Command deployed from Rhine Ordnance Barracks Germany to relieve elements of 3-2nd Air Defense Artillery support Operation Anatolian Protector in Gaziantep, Turkey. There 5-7th Air Defense Artillery assumed the responsibility of safeguarding civilians from potential airborne threats resulting from the ongoing crisis in neighboring Syria.




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