While US military sites are scattered throughout various part of the globe, the country of Saudi Arabia does have the Eskan Village Air Base Saudi Arabia as a functioning and welcoming army base that serves both as long-term residence for people in the air force as well as a way for the Saudi air force and military to show their support for the United States. While the “Operation Desert Storm” and “Operation Desert Shield” took place back in the 1990’s, Eskan village still welcomes servicemen and various military volunteers to stay in the village that is smartly integrated with a US military base.
History of Eskan
The desert city of Riyadh is where the village of Eskan is located. During the military war known as the “Desert Storm” in 1990, the United States coalition forces was looking for a site that can be used as a temporary base for its soldiers during the first days of “Operation Desert Shield”. Fortunately, the government of Saudi Arabia offered the village of Eskan as the perfect site for the coalition forces to set up camp. The housing area known only as “Eskan Village” was located some 20 kilometers south of the Riyadh Air Base in Saudi Arabia. Built during the year 1983, the housing complex composed of 44 high rise towers and 841 villas or housing units that was originally intended to house the various Bedouin tribes who live in the desert. Unfortunately, the tribes never decided to occupy Eskan and chose to maintain their lifestyle of living in the desert, leaving the housing complex unoccupied and free to be used by the United States Military coalition forces as permitted by the Saudi Arabian government.
Eskan has been host to the 320th Air Expeditionary Group as well as the 64th Air Expeditionary Group. It has also housed the headquarters of ARCENT-Saudi Arabia or the Army Forces Central Command – Saudi Arabia, which focuses on the deployment of forces and facilitation of coordination of various United States Patriot security forces and missile assets to be hosted and deployed forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the host nation.
1996 saw the birth of “Operation Desert Focus”, which was undertaken due to the death of 19 American soldiers from a terrorist attack of the Khobar Towers in Dhahran. The situation caused the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to relocate almost 6,000 people to 3 different locations which included the Prince Sultan Air Base (PSAB) in Al Kharj, a huge military Saudi air base used during the Gulf War and located some 50 miles southeast of Eskan; the Eagles town Site in Dhahran; and in the Eskan Village housing complex. Prior to this, the village of Eskan was mainly used as a deployment site for the Riyadh Air Base and officers for the capital of Riyadh, but due to the bombing of the towers various security concerns forced the transfer of the authorities working in Riyadh mainly at the Department of Defense to Eskan village.
The same year also saw the relocation of the JTF-SWA operations to Eskan village, lead by the 54th Signal Battalion, which largely focused on the re-routing of various cable facilities to different locations and new facilities. This significantly increased the early-warning security network which was to be known as CENTAF’s newly developed Air Defense System Integrator.
The Eskan Village Air Base Saudi Arabia now serves as an effective military base that is completely and successfully integrated flawlessly inside the village, and it is surprisingly Americanized. It is important to know that while various countries in the Middle East are reluctant and resistant to the grip of technology, the people in the air force residing in Eskan Village and its many compounds and villas are currently enjoying a plethora of modern day living amenities serving anyone who lives inside the village. Modern facilities like dental and medical clinics that serve only the United States servicemen and personnel, a variety of bars that serve as entertainment and recreational sites such as pubs and social halls for wary soldiers who are lonely and homesick, and also health care facilities such as gyms and even a post office found its way at the heart of the air base and has quickly influenced the modernization and the technological advancement of the village and other surrounding areas. The Mirage Dining facility is open to all members of the US service and food is free. If the military personnel get tired of the food being served there, various restaurants such as Pizza Inn and a Chinese fast food restaurant is located near the various sporting facilities in the area. There is also an Eskan Community Club run by the United States Military Training Mission (or the USMTM) that offers travelling entertainment and show performances for a limited time at the club.
The most important feature of the villas in Eskan village is the air-conditioned rooms. Temperatures in Saudi Arabia can be scorching hot, especially to those individuals not used to temperatures ranging from 100 degrees to 120 degrees. Each villa usually has 4 bedrooms, a fully functional kitchen, a laundry area, 3 bathrooms, and a living area equipped with a television set.
The Eskan village air base introduced villa and compound living to the surrounding area, and has proven to be quite comfortable to over 2,000 men currently stationed in the base. People in the air force can definitely call this village “a home away from home” thanks to the current upgrades and structures that houses a lot of creature comfort for the various servicemen looking for rest, relaxation, and recreation while they are not on active duty.
Relocation to Qatar
Today, the city of Doha is offering a much better alternative for the United States military coalition services when it comes to setting up a military base that can house a lot of the U.S. personnel and military servicemen. In 2003, almost 4,500 US military personnel left a mere 500 in Eskan which paved the way for more than 2,000 United States military personnel to make the Eskan Village Air Base Saudi Arabia their home. It has all the necessary amenities that can provide a unique living experience which can be considered as very high standard that most soldiers can get accustomed to.