Military


Tallil Airbase
Sector Operations Center
Intecept Operations Center

Tallil Airbase is located approximately 310 kilometers Southeast of Baghdad and 20 kilometers Southwest of the city of An Nasiriyah. The airfield is served by two main runways measuring 12,000 and 9,700 feet. Sited on sandy desert, the base is capable of supporting at least two fighter squadrons with support units. According to the "Gulf War Air Power Survey", Tallil had 36 hardened aircraft shelters. At the each end of the main runway are hardened aircraft shelters knowns as "trapezoids" or "Yugos" which were build by Yugoslavian contractors some time prior to 1985. Tallil occupies 30 square kilometers and is protected by 22 kilometers of security perimeter.

The An Nasiriyah weapons storage area is located about 7 kilometers to the East which occupies 7 square kilometers. This WSA appears on a 1985 Russian map but it is not known whether it was struck during Operation Desert Storm, or Desert Fox.

Ur, Iraq's most famous archeological site, was perhaps the earliest city in the world. Ur flourished under the Sumerians between 3500 BC and 4000 BC. It is located near Tallil, a major airbase and radar center which was bombed in the 1991 Gulf War. Ur has been identified with the birthplace of the biblical patriarch Abraham. In the early decades of the 20th century, excavations uncovered a royal cemetery in which members of the ruling elite were buried with their servants and beautifully-made possessions. Ur's dominant feature is the remains of a ramped ziggurat or temple tower, the best preserved in Iraq. In February 1991, General Horner tasked RED HORSE to deny two air bases in southeastern Iraq to prevent future use by returning Iraqi forces, and the work had to be completed before the signing of a cease fire agreement. Working with EOD personnel, two teams completed the job within four days. At Tallil AB, RED HORSE used approximately 40 tons of explosives to make cuts in the runway and taxiway every 2,000 feet. At Jalibah AB, engineers denied a concrete runway and two asphalt taxiways with 72 craters up to 40 feet wide and 12 feet deep.

By March 2003, Tallil AB was an air base in name only. The Iraqis had not flown aircraft out of it since 1991, when the US bombed the base during Operation Desert Storm. During OSW the airfield housed Iraqi air defense functions, was in the southern no-fly zone, and had a limited civilian presence. For all of those reasons, buildings on Tallil continued to be attacked by the US forces carrying out sanction-enforcement operations. The runways, taxiways, and ramps had not been maintained, water supplies were brought in by trucks, and a system of portable generators and batteries provided the only available electrical power.

Tallil looked like what it was -- an airfield the Iraqis had lost to their enemy. However, Tallil AB did have several features to commend it for use by coalition forces: its runways were not cratered; it was located south of the Euphrates River; it was twice as close to Baghdad as was Al Jaber AB; it was along a major supply route from the south; and it was essentially isolated from any significant civilian populations. An Nasiriyah was seven miles away and on the other side of the river.

The first conference between Jay Garner, the US civil administrator in Iraq, and Iraqi groups on 15 April 2003 near Ur was marked by tensions. The first, almost entirely symbolic gathering in southern Iraq when Garner met with former exiled opposition parties near the ancient ziggurat of Ur. That meeting saw all participants pledge to help rebuild the nation, clearing the way for more substantive talks to follow.

Everything that does not move is covered in a grayish-brown, powdery dust. The heat is oppressive -- more than 120 degrees in the shade. Open fields and roads bear craters large enough to swallow small trucks. In March 2003, the area around Tallil Air Base looked more like the surface of the moon than the bustling tent city and flightline area standing today. After the base fell to coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the landscape was desolate, except for a few abandoned buildings, many of which still had extensive damage remaining from the first Gulf War.

The task of transforming this uninhabitable stretch of desert brushland into an operational air base fell on the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. In four months, the people assigned to the unit moved more than 9,500 truckloads of fill dirt, assembled more than 350,000 square feet of facilities, trenched more than 40,000 feet of electrical cable and buried more than five miles of underground water pipe.

The 64th Expeditionary Reconniassance Squadron operated Predator unmanned aerial vehicles. The Predators roam the skies of Iraq providing real-time information to commanders around the world.

The famed "Red Tails" were on the move when they relocated from a base in southern Iraq to just north of Baghdad. The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing flag was furled before being flown to its new home at Balad Air Base, where the wing was reactivated 30 January 2004. The move was part of the Central Command Air Forces effort to consolidate forces from Tallil, Baghdad International Airport and Kirkuk AB into one location. Although the wing's time at Tallil AB was short, the accomplishments of its airmen easily measured up to the wing's legacy. The men and women of the wing had been at the tip of the expeditionary airpower spear. The 332nd had been operating out of Tallil for six months. CENTAF did not completely vacate the base in southern Iraq-the 407th Air Expeditionary Group, commanded by Col. Kevin E. Williams, remained at Tallil.

A small Korean force, while located at Tallil Airbase, gave medical assistance in Al Nasiriyah, as well as rebuilding a hospital with an engineering unit. They have also rebuilt a couple of schools for local children.

By February 2006 the base contained a gym, a volleyball court, and a so-called morale tent complete with DVD players, books, and computers.

Tallil Military Base

The new Iraqi Army of 40,000 persons require basing facilities at 18 locations. Prospective Military Bases to re-construct include Tallil.

TSP Whitford / Camp Whitford

In late May 2003 the 984th MP Company from Ft Carson CO running exterior security for the Enemy Prisoner of War camp at Tallil, called it Camp Whitford. After that until early October 2003, the Company rotated every three weeks with another MP company from the EPW camp back to convoys.

Enemy prisoners of war held at a facility on Tallil Air Base were moved to a larger compound in June 2003. The 85 EPW's were moved via tactical vehicles, and guarded by the 744th Military Police Battalion and the 320th Military Police Company to their new area. The new facility is more secure and is larger. The new facility can hold thousands of EPW's until they are moved to the main compound in Umm Qasr. They usually only spend about 72 hours there. It also has the potential to be a full facility. Sometimes, EPW's have children with them when they are brought in. The MP's take the children in and provide them with food, water, shelter and medical attention as well. It is a way of making sure the children are safe and their basic needs are met while their caretakers are under investigation. It protects them from being victimized. The larger, more secure facility is an improvement for the military police personnel and the EPW's alike.

Camp Cedar I

As of early 2003 Camp Cedar was home to, among others, the 260th Quartermaster Battalion, an active duty unit from Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., and Reserve units the 394th Quartermaster Bn. from Puerto Rico, the 362nd Quartermaster Bn. of Kinston, N.C., and the 346th Transportation Bn. out of Savannah, Ga. Since arriving in the theater on March 31, the four battalions were instrumental in moving 66 million gallons of fuel throughout Iraq. When they moved into Iraq from Kuwait, they operated from the hastily constructed original Camp Cedar. However, the pounding high winds and fine, loose grit caused by the constant heavy truck traffic made for visibility and equipment problems at Cedar I. At Cedar's old location there was nothing but a dust bowl.

Camp Cedar II

The Talil field exchange, which opened 05 April 2003 inside a gymnasium on the former Iraqi air base near Nasiriyah, is just one of several shops the Army and Air Force Exchange Service has set up recently in Iraq. Others are in Umm Qsar, Baghdad International Airport and Camp Cedar (a convoy pit stop near Talil). Camp Cedar is located about 20 minutes drive from Talil. There is another US encampment at the nearby Ammo Supply point.

Since June 2003 life has improved dramatically for service men and women serving in southern Iraq as a dry, plain landscape has been transformed into a vibrant tent city on a mile stretch of Iraqi desert approximately six miles from historical Ur.

Engineers looking for a more suitable site, based on geographical and tactical considerations as a permanent camp for years to come, found it 15 kilometers to the north, near Tallil Air Base. The ground there is less sandy, more solid and has a little vegetation that helps break the winds and hold the dirt. The engineers graveled the area in June and contracted Kellog, Brown and Root to work on the camp's infrastructures. This son of Cedar I now featured a dining facility, air-conditioned force provider tents, air-conditioned mobile latrines, a post exchange, a chapel and morale, welfare and recreation tents to accommodate more than 5,000 servicemembers and government civilians and contractors.

The camp had a humble beginning. When the troops first arrived, they had no air-conditioning units. Before they got a DFAC (dining facility) in mid-July, troops had UGRA (unitized group rations - type A) field rations. Personell had to line up at a mobile kitchen, get a plate and move somewhere to eat it. People sometimes had to wait an hour or two. Of course, they also had MREs (meals ready to eat), and they set up microwaves so they could have hot meals without having to use MRE heat packets. Before they had air-conditioned force provider tents, soldiers lived and worked out of general-purpose tents, which had no floors and were not well suited to the dust and windy environment.

As of August 2003 troops from the 28 countries that have committed forces to support the International Coalition in Iraq have begun assuming more and more duties. Dutch and Italian forces, working together at Tallil Air Base in southern Iraq have provided internal airfield security - the Dutch conducting roving patrols with the Italians manning checkpoints and providing a quick reaction force for the airfield. When they catch an intruders, they turn them over to the American Security Force. No intruders have approached the airfield -- yet, and the role of the Coalition force reinforces but does not duplicate security provided by Americans in the area. In addition to airfield security, both Dutch and Italian forces have their own helicopters at the airfield. Their helicopter missions are similar in scope and range from force protection and security to medical evacuations.

Chaplains from four different battalions joined pastoral forces for a dedication on 14 September 2003 of the first "Freedom Chapel" built at Camp Cedar II in Iraq. Before the consolidation, the chaplains had performed their services separately in four different battalion Morale, Welfare and Recreation tents. The MWR tents confused many soldiers who sought chaplain assistance. Sometimes they discovered it was not a place dedicated for worship due to scheduling conflicts. Kellogg, Brown and Root, the company contracted to build the chapel, started construction in June. The original floor plan called for nothing more than the erection of a general-purpose empty tent. However, the chaplains gathered together their needs and wishes and asked KBR to include additional specifications. The happy outcome includes seating for 200 worshippers, two private offices, three decorative tables, a waiting room, a lectern, an altar, columns, light fixtures, ventilation frames and a colored 'Freedom Chapel' sign in front of the chapel.

On 24 October 2003, AAFES opened its second Burger King in Iraq at Tallil. The new mobile facility, co-located with an AAFES-operated Pizza Hut, provided another Burger King restaurant so that more servicemen and women serving in Iraq could, if only for a moment, forget about the task at hand in the desert and get a whiff of that familiar scent that takes them back home.

Camp Cedar II PX

Camp Adder / Camp Mittica

Camp Adder and Camp Mittica are located on Tallil Air Base. In late March 2003 Camp Adder was the southernmost Army resupply point in Iraq. Camp Adder in south-central Iraq is a dusty, middle-of-nowhere place. It assumed great importance in the Iraq war, with a motley collection of just about every kind of truck imaginable, from fuel tankers and water carriers to five-ton haulers. Taking a cue from private logistics masters like FedEx and Wal-Mart, the Army went high-tech in this war, equipping each supply truck with radio sensors that signal exactly where it is at all times. At Camp Adder, soldiers are housed in trailers, and they get to sleep on real beds with relatively new mattresses.

Operating out of Camp Adder in February 2006, the 48th Brigade Combat Team's Iraq- Medical Community Assessment Program founded a temporary clinic in a nearby school, bringing basic medical services to the Iraqi people where none existed before.

Camp Whitehorse

Camp Whitehorse, a Marine-run detention site near Nasiriyah, was located outside the southern city of Nasiriyah in Southern Iraq. The facility, a former Iraqi military compound, was a small, makeshift jail for possible enemy prisoners rounded up during raids.

The prisoners were held at Whitehorse until they could be interrogated by a Marine "human exploitation team," which would determine whether the detainees should be released or transferred elsewhere. Prisoners were forced to stand 50 minutes of every hour, in heat sometimes topping 120 degrees, for up to 10 hours at a time. Prisoners were forced to stand until interrogators from the Human Exploitation Team arrived. If the team failed to get the information it wanted, prisoners were forced to continue standing.

In October 2003 the US military charged eight US Marine reservists, including two officers, with brutal treatment of Iraqi prisoners of war that may have resulted in the death of one Iraqi man. The eight fought in Iraq as part of the First Marine Division and were detailed to guard a prisoners at Camp Whitehorse. Military prosecutors allege that an Iraqi man named Nagem Sadoon Hatab died at Camp Whitehorse in early June 2003 following a possible beating by US guards. The Baath party official had been caught with a gun from the ambushed army unit that included Pvt. 1st Class Jessica Lynch.

Maj. William Vickers, was accused of dereliction of duty for failing to prevent the alleged abuses at Camp Whitehorse. Although Vickers had received no training on how to run a detention facility, he was commended by numerous officers on the performance of his job. Vickers was in charge of the facility during April and May 2003. He was charged because prosecutors believe he trained or allowed guards to act in a way that caused later abuses.



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