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Chapman Airfield

Chapman Airfield was a former Soviet Airbase, it was named for Nathan Chapman the first US soldier killed in Afghanistan in 2002. Approximately 100 American troops were stationed at the Khost airfield as of mid-January 2002. With more regional airports, like the one in Khost, now secured, US helicopters can deploy to "targets of opportunity" quickly. As of mid-February 2002, nearly 200 US soldiers were stationed at the Khost airfield, reportedly training a 400-strong Afghan "anti-Al Qaeda" force. The American base in Khost, about 20 miles from the Pakistani border, came under attack on the morning of March 20, and the ensuing firefight lasted more than an hour.

As of July 2002, about 50 US special operations troops were based at the field in Khost. As of mid-September 2002, between 500 and 1,000 U.S. soldiers were based near the city of Khost.

American fighter jets pounded suspected enemy positions in Afghanistan after two US bases came under rocket fire in the east of the country. In the first attack on 14 November 2002, nine 107-millimeter rockets were fired at a US military base near Gardez. The rockets landed near the base but did not cause any casualties. The military called in A-10 fighter planes, which dropped several bombs and fired about 2,000 rounds of ammunition. Troops found a suspected enemy vehicle and destroyed a rocket that had not been fired.

Chapman Airfield is three [or six] kilometers away from Camp Salerno, in the province of Khost, close to the border with Pakistan. The Chapman Airfield runway has been improved and lengthened up to 3,000 m from the US Engineers to allow the landing of C-130J cargo. Chapman is about 3 kilometers away from Salerno, and is home to one platoons that rotate there on a monthly basis. The small compound is also home to several "other" military personnel that we work closely with. The trip is by armored convoy as we travel through the populated outskirts of Khowst.

As the work eased on the UK's Camp Gibraltar in late 2002, taskings for British sappers came in from other areas including a relief road, runway repair, winterising the ammunition compound, aiding the Americans with fortifying their camps and the construction of a medical facility at Chapman Airfield in Khowst. This all kept the jobs varied and ensured that Support Troop was kept busy at all times.

The night of March 19, 2002, the airfield came under attack by Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters; as a result of which three radio operator-maintainers (Military Occupation Specialty 31C) were awarded the first valor medals ever given in 112th Signal Battalion for their valor in Afghanistan. The radio operators had been supporting a Special Forces company's advance-operating base with single ultrahigh-frequency tactical satellite and high-frequency radio communications at Chapman Airfield in Khowst, Afghanistan.

The 407th Civil Affairs Battalion deployed in 2003 to Afghanistan from Arden Hills, Minn. They operated out of Chapman Airfield, a small American outpost on the edge of the city of Khowst.

Chapman opened a free clinic in November of 2004, it was staffed by one doctor a Special Forces medic and one or more soldiers with some medical training. They would typically see about 90 patients a day but patients with more serious conditions would have to be forwarded to other facilities as Chapman functioned more as a free clinic than a comprehensive medical facility.




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