The Ali Al Salem Air Base is a military base located in Kuwait. This air base is about 39 miles away from the border of Iraq, and its operation is under the supervision of the Kuwaiti Air Force with the help of the United States Air Force (USAF). It is positioned on an elevated ground above the surrounding desert plains, an excellent topographical position which is why it is dubbed as the “The Rock.” Because of its very close distance from the Iraqi border, the Ali Al Salem Air Base is the frontline for the campaign “Operation Southern Watch.” It provides several operations such as theatre airlift, air surveillance and control, force protection, combat rescue, aero medical evacuation, theatre ballistic missile defense, and combat support. It also allows other types of air and ground operations and trainings.
Among the military bases in Kuwait, the Ali Al Salem Air Base is the last to be overruled by the military of Iraq. On August 3, 1990, this base was conquered by the Iraqi military. Only few Kuwaiti regulars, base generals, and staff officers were left to fight for the freedom of this base. However, at the end of the day, they were overruled by the Iraqi military. The Kuwaiti generals are hanged by the Iraqi military on the base flagpoles while the remaining alive staffs were lined outside the old building of the Kuwaiti Officer’s Club and were shot to death by the Iraqis. Several operations were then planned with to free the Ali Al Salem AB Kuwait. With the Royal Air Force (RAF), United States Air Force (USAF), and Unites States Marine Corps (USMC) united, the Operation Telic or Operation Iraqi Freedom became a success. Since then, the Ali Al Salem Air Base was returned to the Kuwaiti government.
Aside from the other US military bases in Kuwait, the Ali Al Salem Air Base is another home to US military personnel in that country, before the awarding of the Job Order Contract (JOC) to Kuwait Dynamics Ltd. In May 1998, personnel and military staffs working in the air base were working and living out of tents, general purpose shelters, and expandable shelters. Because of the presence of several tents for personnel and staffs, the Ali Al Salem Kuwait Air Base is like a tent city. There are only few actual buildings in the air base before, and these buildings were qounset-shaped, and designed as foldable general purpose structures.
However, with the awarding of the Job Order Contract (JOC) to Kuwait Dynamics Ltd In May 1998, the air force personnel took advantage of this contract and they quickly designed plans for basic needs facilities such as telephone switch facility, dining facility and cold storage facility. Dormitories and offices were also planned. By the mid-2000, the Air Force began the construction for these facilities, and soon after, personnel and staff started to move out of the tents.
The pararescuemen, other known as PJs, made the ordinary tents and quarters of the older pararescuemen into a mansion, according to the standards in the Ali Al Salem Air Base Kuwait. They modified the tents into wooden bungalows. Though it may still have the dusty feeling of the desert, the bungalows with plywood walls have comfortable worn sofa and carpeted floor. These make the bungalows more comfortable than the tents.
Chapel or Church
The 386th Air Expeditionary Group finally had a new chapel or church after several years of construction for the out-of-tent project. By the 26th day of December 2001, office furniture, religious supplies, administrative materials and other gears were moved to the permanent building from the tent. The chapel is located at the back of the clinic, and the first mass, a dedication service was conducted on January 17, 2002. The chapel serves as a sanctuary to the military officers and staffs deployed in the air base. It also features a small office space and conference room for confidential counselling and religious studies. The Ali Al Salem Air Base chapel also features seven Air Force and Army chaplains who are serving in the Operation Southern Watch. This includes Chaplain (Maj.) Graham Brown from the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom.
The parking ramp for C-130 Hercules was finally completed on 31st day of March 2004. This 320,000-square foot ramp is designed for helicopters. The plank of the ramp has a width of 2 feet, length of 12 feet, and a thickness of 2 inches, and an individual weight of 140 pounds each. The planks are also designed to interlocked or interconnect with each other in order to prevent them from being separated or moving around. Because of the capability of the parking ramp to accommodate ten C-130 aircrafts, it is dubbed as “Beef Ramp.” The Beef Ramp is located on former area for marine helicopters.
The Area 51 is an air passenger terminal in the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait. It started its operation in December 2004. Its main purpose is to transport hundreds or even thousands of soldiers to different destinations for the Operation Iraqi Freedom. The terminal features parking lot for buses which are dropping and picking up soldiers, and also several tents to accommodate the passengers. The Area 51 is operated by a small group of soldiers stationed or assigned at the terminal.
Kuwait Air Force (KAF) Flight Training School
The Kuwait Air Force Flight Training School is located in Ali Al Salem Air Base. This school serves as the home for 17th Attack Squad, 20th Attack Squad, 33rd Attack Squad, Search and Rescue (SAR) Wing Teams such as the 32nd SAR Squad and 62nd Utility Squad, and flight trainees like the 12th Training Squad, 19th Training Squad, and the 88th Training Squad.
Other Facilities in the Ali Al Salem Air Base
The space at the Ali Al Salem Air Base may be limited to general structures and tents but there are also other facilities in the area. These include a small base exchange, three dining facilities, an above-ground pool, a clinic and a gym. Physical activities and recreational activities like tournaments, flight runs games, and intramural sports are done regularly at the Ali Al Salem Air Base Kuwait.