Ali Al Salem Air Base
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|Ali Al Salem Air Base
قاعدة علي السالم الجوية
|Entrance to the US Air Force side|
|IATA: none – ICAO: OKAS
|Owner||Government of Kuwait|
|Operator||Kuwait Air Force|
|Elevation AMSL||472 ft / 144 m|
Ali Al Salem Air Base (ICAO: OKAS) is a military airbase situated in Kuwait, approximately 23 miles from the Iraqi border. The airfield is owned by the Government of Kuwait, and during Operation Southern Watch and Operation Telic / Operation Iraqi Freedom hosted Royal Air Force (RAF), United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Marine Corps (USMC) personnel and aircraft. Since those operations, the base has been returned to the control of the Kuwaiti Government, with the USAF continuing to maintain a presence alongside their Kuwait Air Force counterparts. The principal USAF unit on base is the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing (386 AEW).
In 1990, the base was the last to be overrun by the Iraqi Military. On August 3, Ali Al Salem was the only air base not occupied by Iraq. A small number of Kuwaiti regulars, staff officers, and the base General stayed to fight and organize resupply missions from Saudi Arabia. By the end of the day, Ali Al Salem had been overrun. Upon discovery by the Iraqi military, the Kuwaiti General was hanged from the base flagpole by Iraqi troops. New flagpoles have since been installed, however as of December 2012, the original pole still stands. The remaining Kuwaiti military personnel were lined up outside the old Kuwaiti officers' club and shot. While no longer used, the building and bullet holes remain.
Kuwait Air Force Use
The Kuwait Air Force Flight Training School is located at Ali Al Salem Air Base and it is the home base of following squadrons:
- 17th Attack Squadron
- 20th Attack Squadron
- 33rd Attack Squadron
- Search & Rescue Wing
- 32nd SAR Squadron
- 62nd Utility Squadron
- Flight Training School
- 12th Training Squadron
- 19th Training Squadron
- 88th Training Squadron
Royal Air Force Use
The Royal Air Force operated out of AAS from early 1998, just before Operation Desert Fox. The RAF detachment consisted of various non-formed units, and a rotating Squadron of Panavia Tornado GR1s and later Tornado GR4s. The base was rapidly expanded in early 2003 to base the Joint Helicopter Command assets prior to start of Operation Telic, the British designation for the US designated Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During the war, the RAF amalgamated five Tornado GR4 Squadrons based at AAS to form the Ali Al Salem Combat Air Wing, commanded by Wing Commander Paddy Teakle OBE (OC 31 'Goldstars' Squadron). He was awarded the DSO for his leadership.
The base currently hosts several military units besides the Kuwaiti Air Force.
The airport resides at an elevation of 472 feet (144 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt/concrete runways: 12R/30L measuring 2,989 by 45 metres (9,806 ft × 148 ft) and 12L/30R measuring 2,989 by 40 metres (9,806 ft × 131 ft).
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