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Balad Air Base

Balad Airbase is located in Northern Iraq approximately 68 kilometers North of Baghdad. According to the "Gulf War Air Power Survey, there were 39 hardened aircraft shelters at the base. At the each end of the main runway were hardened aircraft shelters knowns as "trapezoids" or "Yugos," which were build by Yugoslavian contractors some time prior to 1985. By the 1990s, Balad Air Base was one of the largest airbases in Iraq. The airfield was served by 2 runways 11,300 and 11,200 feet long respectively. Balad by that time occupied a 25 square kilometer site and was protected by a 20 kilometers security perimeter.

As of 10 June 2002, there was no Ikonos imagery of Balad Airbase in Space Imaging's Carterra Archive.

A total of 70 UN inspectors visited 11 sites on 7 January 2003. A team of 4 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited the Al-Bakr (also known as Balad Southeast) air base, located approximately 100 kilometers north of Baghdad. The Foreign Ministry noted that the purpose of the visit was "to verify the quantity of the explosive material type HMX, which was sent from the Al-Qa'qa State Company" to the air base. Apparently the HMX was used to destroy partially standing buildings that had been bombed by coalition forces. Inspectors visited the HMX storage area and tested the site for radiation, according to the ministry.

Soon after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, US forces occupied Balad Air Base, establishing a number of facilities including ultimately Joint Base Balad and Logistics Support Activity (LSA) Anaconda. As part of the drawdown of US forces in Iraq, Joint Base Balad was handed over to Iraqi forces on 8 November 2011, with the last elements of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing departing. At the time of the turnover, Joint Base Balad was the US's second largest facility in Iraq. At its peak, the joint Army-Air Force facility had housed over 36,000 personnel and contractors.

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Page last modified: 11-01-2012 16:43:34 ZULU