The Al Udeid Air Base is a military base located west of Doha Qatar and is owned by the Qatar Emiri Air Force. It is home to the headquarters of United States Central Command (USCC) and United State Air Force Central Command (USAFCC). The Al Udeid Air Base Qatar is also a home to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing of the USAF and to the No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group RAF. When the war against Afghanistan was at its peak, there were around 4000 American soldiers who were stationed at this base. Along with the American soldiers were two dozens of KC-10A Extenders and KC-135 Stratotankers which were used for the re-fuelling of bombers and fighter jets over Afghanistan. By September of 2002, the number of American soldiers in the air base went down to approximately 2000 in number. After six months, the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar underwent expansion so that it can accommodate up to 120 aircraft and 10,000 troops.
In 2003, the residents of this air base increased when the two P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, fourteen RAAF F/A-18 Hornet fighters from the 75SQN, and three C-130 Hercules transport aircraft based there. Initially, the task of the Hornet is to protect and escort the coalitions and give early warnings to the tanker aircrafts and AWACS aircraft. With this task, they only flew for about five to six hours a day. However, when the war against Iraq broke, the Hornets, armed with laser-guided bombs, were used to attack the Iraqi ground forces. On the other hand, the Orions usually had 12-hour missions during night time at the Persian Gulf. Finally, the Hercules transports were tasked to transport equipments and supplies to Iraq. They were also assigned to bring humanitarian aid to Baghdad.
Camp Andy is a 288-tent complex in the Al Udeid Qatar air base. It is named in honor of Master Sergeant Evander Earl “Andy” Andrews, a civil engineer who died in a construction accident on the 10th day of October 2001. He was the first casualty of Operation Enduring Freedom. Camp Andy serves as the Al Udeid Air Base Qatar dorms.
On October 2, 2001, when the 823rd Red Horse Squadron from the Hurlburt Field was deployed, Al Udeid Air Base Qatar was nothing but a long runway covered with sand. There were only two dozens of tents and a few warehouses before on the air base. Because there were no rooms at the warehouses for the Red Horse Squadron to sleep, they created expandable shelters along the flight line. It was on those expandable shelters where the Red Horse Squadron men lived and worked for a while. The Red Horse team worked for a $9.1 million military project which was for the construction of buildings, concrete ramps with taxiways, lighting and shoulders. After two months however, no money was approved and received for the construction of the ramp, so the Red Horse Squadron worked for other projects like setting up the tent city, and the construction of other buildings. The construction of the ramp started on January of the following year and was completed by the month of March. After its construction, the ramp was as wide as eight football fields.
In the Gulf region, the Al Udeid Air Base Qatar has the longest runway which is about 5000 meters or 15,000 feet. It can accommodate almost 100 aircrafts. On March 2002, when then-US Vice President Cheney visited the air base Al Udeid Qatar, the runway was opened for midair fuelling.
Communications and Computer Equipments
In order to build an alternate command center at the air base, the US started installing communications, computers, and intelligence and asset equipments at this Qatar military base. On March 2002, the US soldiers were moving computers and communications equipment from the Prince Sultan Air Base of Saudi Arabia to the Al Udeid Air Base in order to establish a flexible and long term control center to command wars in the region. With the relocation of the computers and communications equipment, the different forces within and around the region were able to operate efficiently. The computers and servers had in them Al Udeid Air Base Qatar map for easier monitoring and planning.
USAF Prepositioned War Reserve Material (WRM)
The USAF Prepositioned War Reserve Material at Al Udeid Air and Army Base in Qatar provides several supports for the personnel like base systems, munitions, vehicles, aerospace ground equipment, associated spares and consumables, medicals, fuel mobility support equipment, rations, air base operability equipment, and many others. The WRM is also responsible for asset receipt, serviceability, security, maintenance, out load, accountability, storage, periodic inspection and test, repair, and reconstitution of prepositioned WRM facilities. The United States Central Command Air Forces (USCENTAF) uses the prepositioned war reserve material (WRM) to support the combat forces deployed in Southwest Asia. The war reserve materials include warehousing of rations, medical and munitions, and other supplies.
There are several war planes stationed on the Al Udeid Air Base Qatar which include the F-16 fighters, JSTARS reconnaissance aircraft, and KC-10, KC-130 and KC-135 aerial tankers. These were stationed in the air base since early 2002. Along with the thousands of US soldiers who were permanently stationed in the base are also 50 war planes. In order to accommodate more warplanes and aircraft, the Qatar government has offered to finance a project which approximately costs $400 million in order to upgrade and improve the base, including a permanent housing or dormitories, command and control facility and one million gallon-capacity storage tanks.
Aside from buildings, runways, ramps, war planes, and war reserve materials, there are other facilities in this air base including swimming pools. The first swimming pool in the Al Udeid Air Base Qatar was completed on June 2002. Currently, there are two military issued above-the-ground swimming pools in the air base. Aside from the swimming pools, there are basketball and volleyball courts inside the compound. These courts are used not only during the regular days but also on intramurals.