Iskandariyah [Alexandria] is located 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Baghdad. The city is home of the the al-Quds General Company for Mechanical Industries at which made medium-range missiles and bombs in the 1980s. Al-Iskandariyah is the home of a large military industrial factory, which has been attacked in previous confrontations between Iraq and the western allies.
In February 2004 a crowd of angry Iraqis protested against the presence of U.S. troops in the southern, mainly Shi'a, town of Iskandariyah. They insisted that the coalition was responsible for the devastating 10 February car bombing, which killed more than 50 people. Shi'a Arabs, who at first welcomed US troops, have since grown weary of the coalition's failure to bring security to the country. Anti-American feelings erupted after 53 Iraqis were killed in a terrorist attack on a police recruiting station in Al-Iskandariyah. Some residents claimed to have seen an American aircraft flying at the time of the attack and said it was the U.S. plane -- not a suicide bomber -- that had inflicted the casualties. They say the U.S. is interested in sparking ethnic unrest in an effort to prolong its military presence in the country.
FOB Kalsu is positioned in Iskandariyah, Iraq. In May 2003, the 220th Military Police Brigade directed the 504th MP Battalion to expand its area of responsibility north along MSR Tampa, from CSC Scania to the intersection of MSR Tampa and Alternate Supply Route Jackson, south of Baghdad. The extended area, which later became known as the true start of the Sunni Triangle, was the most problematic area of the battalion's area of responsibility. In an effort to stop enemy activity and continue to provide a secure MSR for troop movement, the battalion established FOB Kalsu, named in honor of First Lieutenant James Robert Kalsu, a Buffalo Bills defensive lineman killed in Vietnam on 21 July 1970.
Initially occupied by the 105th Military Police Company (Buffalo, New York) and then the 300th Military Police Company, FOB Kalsu quickly became a critical site with two objectives to provide immediate emergency response to convoys under attack and, due to its location, operate continuous MSR combat patrols in the battalion's most active area. FOB Kalsu's location at the start of the Sunni Triangle, just south of Baghdad, has made it an essential location to conduct operations against enemy forces and provide rapid assistance to coalition forces traveling on MSR Tampa. The 105th and 300th were engaged in more than 50 direct enemy contacts along MSR Tampa. As a result of FOB Kalsu's strategic placement, the battalion effectively responded to 20 IED attacks against coalition convoys, and combat patrols discovered more than 25 IEDs before detonation. Although FOB Kalsu came under frequent attack by enemy rocket-propelled grenade, small arms, mortar, and rocket fire, the units continued to provide an effective and aggressive defense, ensuring that the FOB remained open. FOB Kalsu was transformed from a bombed and abandoned former regime military antiaircraft radar station to a US military base whose sphere of influence extended well beyond the battalion's original expectations. The FOB now supports more than 350 soldiers from the battalion and the 2-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment and is slated to become a long-term base in support of future Operation Iraqi Freedom operations.
Marines, sailors and soldiers welcomed the opening of a new dining facility 15 August 2004. The new dining facility replaces a temporary tent they had used since the Army's field dining facility was closed here nearly three weeks ago. The new facility offers service members a refuge from the heat, dust and stress of working at a forward operating base. The dining facility, named Unger Hall, is named after Army Spc. Daniel Paul Unger, 19, Company A, 1st Battalion, 185th Infantry Regiment, 81st Brigade Combat Team, who was fatally wounded during a rocket attack here May 26. He died the following day.
FOB Kalsu is known to its soldiers as often being very dusty. The dust consists of a very fine, powdery mix of sand. This dust coats almost everything in the base and also makes its way into much of the equipment.
FOB Kalsu is a smaller base in relation to many other FOBs in Iraq. Its infrastructure is more temporary with soldiers mostly living and working in tents that are protected by blast walls. There are a few temporary buildings that house some of the offices on base.
LT Kalsu was the only pro-football player to lose his life in Vietnam and this FOB is honored with his name.
The PX consists of two large reinforced tents, one of which sported the main PX and the other holds a bazaar. The bazaar resembles a flea market and is run by Iraqis. Everything from electronics to musical instruments to jewelry and knives are sold.
Kalsu has internet and phone access on base.