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King Abdul Aziz Military City
King Faisal Air Base
Tabuk, Saudi Arabia
2821'55"N 3637'08"E

Tabuk is the only really remote site in the Kingdom. The city is a small market center with a population of 100,000. Tabuk houses the Northwest Area Command at King Abdul Aziz Military City, and home of the Royal Saudi Land Forces 7th Armor, 8th Infantry, 12th Armor, and 14th Infantry Brigades; the RSLF Airborne School and Brigade, the RSLF Armor Institute, and the King Faisal Air Base with the F-5 2nd Squadron.

The United States Military Training Mission (USMTM) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a joint training mission under the command of Headquarters, United States Central Command, (USCENTCOM) MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. The Chief of USMTM also serves as the United States Department of Defense Representative for Saudi Arabia. The USMTM Air Force Division has supporting detachments at Taif, Dhahran, Khamis Mushayt, and Jeddah. Personnel work directly with their RSAF Headquarters counterparts on all logistics, operational, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) issues. In addition, E3A/KE-3A Extended Training Service Specialists (ETSS) personnel provide training and assistance to the RSAF in a variety of flying operations out of Riyadh Air Base. F-15 operations are supported by US Air Force personnel at Dhahran and Khamis Mushayt. RF-5 operations are supported at Taif, while C-130 operations are supported at Jeddah and Riyadh. Detachment Commanders (DETCO) serve as advisors to Saudi Air Base Area Chiefs and supervise ETSS personnel in the area.

The USMTM compound is situated outside of Tabuk. The compound is composed of 30 villas, a small fitness room, sauna, racquetball court, a swimming pool, two hot tubs, tennis court/basketball court, APO, and surrounded by a fruit orchard (good for running). Personnel should bring their own pictures, pots for plants, stereos, personal decorations, tennis/racquetball rackets, rain slickers, and winter clothing as it can get cool during the winter months.

The region provides products and services to support the large military installations and a market for the extensive agricultural production of the area. The Jordanian border, Red Sea, and Gulf of Aqaba are two hours by car. Tabuk is the largest wheat and grape production area in the Kingdom, producing over 180,000 tons of wheat per year, and exporting flowers, fruit and other crops. The climate has been compared to the Tucson area in the southwestern US It is quite hot and dry during the summer months, but reaches temperatures near freezing in the winter months. Annual rainfall is almost nonexistent except for occasional thunderstorms during a brief rainy season.

Commissary supplies and PX/BX items are obtained by order from the commissary and PX/BX in Riyadh. Local supermarkets are available but some western foods are expensive. Vehicle maintenance, janitorial services, and videotaped movies are provided. In addition to the activities available in the compound, the local area has many interesting activities. There are interesting geological and historical sites nearby. Jordan can be visited fairly easily, and some of the best scuba diving in the world is available in the nearby Red Sea. Personnel interested in scuba diving should bring or be prepared to purchase their own mask, snorkel, and fins. The other diving supplies are available at minimal or no cost.

Tabuk is a very conservative Moslem community. Rules, regulations, and laws are enforced in the strictest manner. Although Westerners are generally welcome, they are expected to conduct themselves in socially and religiously acceptable ways. Preparing for service here means being mentally prepared to accept the tenets and restrictions of Islamic culture in the fullest sense. Because of these restrictions, close comradeship develops between USMTM members and other Westerners in the area. This tour provides a great opportunity to complete self-study programs such as PME, etc., and also gives individuals a great chance to improve personal physical fitness.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:57:15 ZULU