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Fort Kobbe

Fort Kobbe was located on the west bank of the canal near the Pacific entrance and next to Howard AFB. Fort Kobbe hosted the Theater Equipment and Maintenance Site (TEAMS), a facility that supported disaster relief missions and other civic and humanitarian services. Howard Air Force Base, along with the neighboring Fort Kobbe and the Farfan residential zone, were turned over to the Panamanian government in late 1999 as part of a treaty that will transfer all canal operations to the Central American country by the end of the year.

The first military installation at Fort Kobbe, which commands the Bay of Panama on the west bank of the Pacific end of the Panama Canal, was a small defense position established in 1918. After seven years of negotiation the Bruja Point Military Reservation, named for a point in Panama Bay, was set apart by Executive Order No. 4947, dated 11 August 1928. It was made a permanent military post, designated Fort Bruja and incorporated as a sub-post of Fort Amador on 2 February 1929. It was used for Coast Artillery emplacements utilized in the Harbor Defense of Balboa and supported by several positions which later became Anti-Aircraft Batteries. Fort Bruja was redesignated as Fort Kobbe on 15 April 1932 to honor Major General William A. Kobbe, an artillery officer who played a prominent role with the U.S. Forces during the Philippine Insurrection. General Kobbe, who started his military career as a drummer boy during the Civil War, passed away in 1932 at the age of 91. In 1937 the necessity for an additional air field in the Canal Zone arose and the most suitable site was in the Venado River Valley, a part of Fort Kobbe. An airstrip, known as Bruja Point Air Base, was built and later redesignated as Howard Field, in honor of Major Charles H. Howard, U.S. Army Air Corps.

The 193rd Infantry Brigade was activated on 8 August 1962 at Fort Kobbe, Canal Zone as a mobile force for swift intervention in case of trouble in Latin America. The brigade initially included three infantry battalions, one of which was an airborne unit. In 1968 the airborne battalion was replaced by an infantry battalion. Today the brigade consists of two infantry battalions (one company of one battalion remaining airborne), a field artillery battalion and a support battalion. Brigade headquarters is at Fort Clayton, Panama.


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