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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Sidi Slimane Air Base, Morocco

French Morocco siting developed out of the Allied presence there at the close of World War II. During the early and middle 1950s, the air base supported the command's emergency war plan as staging areas for bombers pointed at the Soviet Union.

By August 1950 Operational Storage Sites for nuclear weapons storage were under contract in French Morocco at Nouasseur, Sidi Slimane, and Ben Guerir. These storage sites were under construction in May 1951.

The first six B-36s arrived at Sidi Slimane in early December 1951, completing their 5,000-mile training flight from Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas.

SAC devised a deployment program to use shorter-range B-47s. Three bases were built in Morocco for this purpose -- at Nouasseur, Sidi Slimane, and Ben Guerir. About one-third of the B-47 force was rotated on a 90-day basis and kept on 15-minute alert for that month. The overseas bases moved the B-47s into effective range of their targets without aerial refueling. Sidi Slimane was critically important for SAC during its first reflex exercises. Side Slimane hosted the B-47 and KC-97, with an asphalted-concrete runway 11,000 feet.

Sabres began flying gunnery training missions during the spring of 1954 from Nouasseur Air Base. 123rd FBW had previously investigated using the other Moroccan base at Sidi Slimane for gunnery use, but at that time (early 1952), Sidi Slimane was insufficiently developed.

In December 1951, the 118th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was transferred to North Africa. They were part of the Strategic Air Command's network of strategic bomber bases at Nouasseur Air Base and Sidi Slimane Air Base, French Morocco. The majority of the 118th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron personnel were located at Nouasseur.

With the destabilization of French government in Morocco, and Moroccan independence in 1956, the government of Mohammed V wanted the US Air Force to pull out of the SAC bases in Morocco, insisting on such action after American intervention in Lebanon in 1958. The United States agreed to leave as of December 1959, and was fully out of Morocco in 1963. SAC felt the Moroccan bases were much less critical with the long range of the B-52, and with the completion of the Spanish bases in 1959.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 03:43:04 ZULU