Military


Forward Operating Base Rhino

The exact location of Forward Operating Base Rhino was not officially disclosed by the US military. It was widely reported that the base's airstrip, which was well known before the Marines arrived, is 55 miles southwest of Kandahar. The layout of the compound, which has four watchtowers, suggested it was a military facility in the making.

The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU-Charlie Company) that established the Forward Operating Base dubbed 'Camp Justice' was capable of performing combat operations of a limited scope. A typical MEU has 2,200 personnel (half that number were initially in Kandahar) and normally lands with a 30-day quota of supplies. Marines carried sandbags to the the front lines of the Marine base near Kandahar, December 1, 2001. Cardboard signs proclaimed the name of the unit's base as "Camp Justice." Marines hunkered down in mortar pits carved into the hard and rocky earth where they fought bitterly cold nights, warm days and thick dust storms that made it necessary to shovel out the pits every morning. The largest concentration of U.S. ground troops in Afghanistan -- which numbered more than 1,000 as of 01 December 2001 -- massed around this southern desert compound seized by the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit within striking distance of Kandahar. As of early January 2002 approximately 1,000 Marines from the 15th and 26th MEUs, and 300 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, were operating from Kandahar. The use of FOB Rhino was discontinued on or around January 1, 2002 as coalition forces had driven Taliban forces out of their strongholds and the necessity for newer and more secure FOB's became apparent.



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