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Mubarak Military City (MMC)

Mubarak Military City is about two miles outside of Alexandria, Egypt. Named after the Egyptian President, Mubarak Military City (MMC) is a small collection of concrete buildings only 15 minutes from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, but hours from Cairo and civilization. The Egyptian army maintains the site throughout the year and uses MMC for minor training events. Every two years, though, MMC swells in size and international importance when Exercise Bright Star comes to town.

Military engineers, planners and logisticians coordinate for 18 months to build the support camps for Bright Star, the largest joint country training exercise the United States sponsors. The main operations are at Mubarak Military City, which houses about 6,000 soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. The military city is surrounded by smaller camps such as Pyramid Logistics Camp that is home to about 1,200 soldiers.

When the 24th Corps Support Group (CSG) literally had to build and then support a city in the desert of northern Egypt for Exercise Bright Star 99/00, Quartermasters were critical to the gargantuan effort. The 559th Quartermaster Battalion (Water Support) from Fort Stewart had the mission of establishing and controlling all life support functions at Mubarak Military City (MMC). Because the 559th Quartermaster Battalion is doctrinally a water production unit, these Quartermasters required augmentation by the 16th Quartermaster Company (Field Services), Fort Lee, VA, to perform the many tasks required to operate a "city" of this size. The 16th Quartermaster Company supplied laundry and shower facilities for nearly all exercise participants. Providing at least 20 pieces of clean laundry to each soldier every week, these Quartermasters laundered more than 2,300 bundles. They provided hot showers daily for all exercise participants at MMC and at Agami. The barracks complexes at MMC did have showers and latrines in them, but no hot (or potable) water. More than 1,200 soldiers daily walked to the shower point to wash off the Sahara sand. The 559th Quartermaster Battalion was also reinforced with cooks from almost every unit to form a consolidated dining facility. By the end of the exercise, these cooks had served nearly 700,000 meals.

The 18th Quartermaster Company, Fort Bragg, NC, operated the Class I (rations) break point at Pyramid Logistics Base (PLB), located about four kilometers from the edge of MMC proper. The PLB was dubbed MMC-Tactical because units at PLB were participants in the field training exercise (FTX) portion of Exercise Bright Star 99/00.

The 24th CSG knew that when the time came to go home, Egyptian dirt and sand would be the biggest enemies. Washrack operations were the 24th CSG's toughest redeployment mission. The 24th CSG's subordinate battalions not only had to worry about cleaning their own vehicles, but also the 5,000-plus vehicles, containers and other equipment of all other exercise participants. The 24th CSG knew that when the time came to go home, Egyptian dirt and sand would be the biggest enemies. Washrack operations were the 24th CSG's toughest redeployment mission. The 24th CSG's subordinate battalions not only had to worry about cleaning their own vehicles, but also the 5,000-plus vehicles, containers and other equipment of all other exercise participants.

Unfortunately, the MMC has only one "fixed" washrack in the "tactical" area, primarily for tracked vehicles. After adding two other washrack facilities at MMC for wheeled vehicles, washrack operations continued for over two weeks, 24-hours per day. This placed a tremendous burden on the 559th Quartermaster Battalion and the 87th CSB, in particular, because of their responsibility for supporting these racks with command and control, water, fuel, lighting and pressure washers. In addition, these units were still required to provide direct support, life support, and simultaneously prepare their own equipment for customs inspection and redeployment.

Despite these challenges, washrack operations concluded earlier than originally scheduled. This allowed vehicles to move back to the port for final rinse, inspection and preparation for shipment. Initial estimates predicted that some elements of the group would have to spend Thanksgiving Day in Egypt. With the work of all units involved, the last ship was loaded early and everyone was home for the holidays.




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