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Cairo West Air Base

Mohamed Hosni Mubarak was commander of Cairo West Air Base in 1964, and subsequently President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

During Bright Star '97. the U.S. Air Force at Cairo West consumed the greatest quantity of fuel with consumption totaling over 2 million gallons. Working side-by-side with Air Force fuels personnel, the Egyptian Air Force provided into-plane support to all U.S. aircraft. The Egyptians pumped Jet A-1 from underground storage tanks, blended in additives to produce JP-8, and finally delivered it to U.S. aircraft in their own R-11s.

More than 250 structures were set up at Cairo West Air Base in Egypt for Bright Star '99, a joint and combined coalition exercise involving military forces from 11 countries. The base support group, which set up the thriving tent city in a bare-base environment for close to 1,800 people, had to take it all apart and pack it away so that most of it can be returned to where it came from. Many were here until December, waiting for the joint processing center to redeploy close to 1,800 U.S. service members who took part in the exercise, before everything can be packed up. The 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., signed on to provide the base operating support. About 250 structures were put up throughout the whole encampment, which were used for living, office and recreational tents, as well as for the tactical field exchange and field kitchen. CE had to run about 10,000 feet of water pipes to get water from an existing well to the tent city to be used in the showers, latrine and laundry tents, and in the field kitchen. CE also set up two power plants and a minor power distribution center to get electricity throughout the encampment.

The 822nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron's mission is to provide force protection for Cairo West and Beni Suef air bases during Bright Star 2001/2002. Security forces personnel from across the Air Force come together here to create the 822nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron - a complete self-sustaining package of security forces personnel that carries out the ideals of the Department of Defense to provide a security forces unit that can focus solely on security and force protection against terrorist activity throughout the world.

The 18th Quartermaster Company, Fort Bragg, NC, was among the notable Quartermaster units. At the aerial port of debarkation at Cairo-West Air Base, the 18th Quartermaster Company performed part of the ration-break mission. Cairo-West Air Base, an Egyptian air force base offered for US use, was the sole point of entry for all fresh fruits, vegetables and other fresh food items flown from Germany several times per week. As usual, meals became a major event in the everyday lives of soldiers on extended deployment. The support of the 18th Quartermaster Company was vital. Later, the 18th Quartermaster Company operated a Class I (rations) break point at a field site.

Soldiers from the 49th Quartermaster Group, Fort Lee, VA, worked at Cairo-West Air Base as the only mortuary affairs team for the entire area of operations. Although the US Air Force was the lead agency for this service during the exercise, Quartermasters got valuable training. Most importantly, their "real-world" services were not required during Exercise Bright Star 99/00.

The United States and other allies used Cairo West AB, a bare base facility, to test and train personnel in setting up and operating from austere locations. The deployed security forces were responsible for force protection of all personnel assigned to the exercise. This daunting task was made even harder by the relative inexperience of the reserve security force squadron in dealing with large scale mobilization and operations.

Over twelve thousand military personnel from 10 countries participated in the exercise. Providing adequate security proved a difficult undertaking. Many of the exercise participants, after arrival at Cairo West, required convoying to ground combat exercise areas, some sites as far as 200 kilometers from Cairo West AB. Due to political constraints imposed by the host government of Egypt, only sidearms could be used by security forces, and only one member in each security vehicle escorting the convoy could be armed. The convoys typically consisted of a lead sweep vehicle with the American convoy commander and one unarmed Egyptian security officer, a HUMMV [high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle] carrying the armed personnel, up-to-ten passenger-carrying buses, and finally another HUMMV with another armed escort. Providence, probably more than physical presence, played a key role in exercise participants in this volatile area of the world.(21)

In addition to convoy duties, the security forces performed the functions needed to secure and protect the main operating location at Cairo West. Entry control, mobile response, anti-terrorism, vehicle search, and observation post duties all had to be performed on a round-the-clock basis. Also, the flight line, with such diverse aircraft as E-3 airborne warning and control system aircraft (AWACS), air refueling tankers, and fighters had to be secured. Eventually, French, British, and Italian security forces, as well as U.S. Army and Marine military police were incorporated into the 610th's span of control. The U.S. forces consisted of the full range of service components currently serving. Active duty, traditional reservists, and individual mobilization augmentees from the three services integrated into one unit. However cumbersome, the polyglot unit worked together to accomplish the mission.(22

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:38:27 ZULU