|U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter at Camp Bastion in 2013|
|IATA: OAZ – ICAO: OAZI|
|Operator||British Armed Forces|
|Location||Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan|
|Commander||RAF Group Captain Tony Innes, Commander Bastion and Commanding Officer 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.|
|Elevation AMSL||2,805 ft / 855 m|
|Garrison of 11,000–12,000 troops|
Camp Bastion is the main British military base in Afghanistan. Accommodating 28,000 people it is situated northwest of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, and exists to be the logistics hub for operations in Helmand. It is the largest British overseas military camp built since the Second World War.
Built in early 2006 by personnel from 39 Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers and various contracting firms, all under the supervision of 62 Works Group Royal Engineers, the camp is situated in a remote desert area, far from population centres. Four miles long by two miles wide, it has a busy airfield and a field hospital and originally had full accommodation for the 2000 men and women.
The base is divided into a number of different sections (Bastions). Bastion 1 and 2 were the first sections with Bastion 2 containing Camp Barber (US) and Camp Viking (DK), Bastion 0 was added in around 2010 and houses the contractors and Bastion 3 is used for in-theatre training.
Bastion also adjoins Camp Leatherneck (US) (which also contains Camp Tombstone) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) Camp Shorabak. Westland WAH-64 Apache and Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters are forward-deployed at the Heliport.
In November 2006, Tony Blair visited Camp Bastion, and, while addressing a gathering of British troops, described it as an "extraordinary piece of desert ... where the fate of world security in the early 21st century is going to be decided".
In May 2013 the BBC obtained documents showing that up to 85 Afghan nationals were being detained at Camp Bastion. Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, has confirmed that the UK is holding "80 or 90 Afghan detainees" at the military base., the Ministry of Defence maintains the detention of the Afghans is legal.
Camp Bastion was built in early 2006 by 39 Engineer Regiment from the Royal Engineers. The camp was specifically in a remote desert area far from population which allows clear vision to spot attackers and originally had full accommodation for the 2000 men and women. The camp is divided in different areas called "Bastions" with Bastion 1 and 2 being the first sections to be created. Bastion 2 originally contained Camp Barber (United States) and Camp Viking (Denmark).
The first runway set up in April 2006 was designed to handle no more than three aircraft movements per week. However by late 2007 a 2,350 metres (7,710 ft) long and 28 metres (92 ft) wide concrete runway became operational enabling the number of movements to rise to 5,000 per month by the end of 2008. However in February 2011 construction of a new 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) runway was completed and can now handle almost all commercial and military aircraft. The old shorter runway is now only used as a parallel taxiway.
Accidents and incidents
The base has been attacked several times including on 14 September 2012 when two United States Marine Corps (USMC) service personnel were killed and six USMC McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II's were destroyed with a further two "significantly damaged". Three refuelling stations were also destroyed with six soft-skin aircraft hangars damaged.
Camp Bastion airfield handles around 600 fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft movements every day, operating combat, medical and logistics flights, its air traffic controllers are integral to the support of the UK's operations in southern Afghanistan and the Air Traffic Control Squadron at Camp Bastion is the first to recruit and train US Marines to UK air traffic control standards. It has now grown to become the fifth-busiest UK-operated airport.
The airfield includes an heliport and runways along with various dispersals and is also used by elements of the United States Military
- No. 903 Expeditionary Air Wing RAF.
- Joint Force Medical Group.
- Joint Aviation Group.
- Military Working Dogs Squadron.
- Crew Training School (for vehicles).
- Task Force Jaguar - tri-service helicopter capability.
- Bastion Force Protection Wing.
Camp Bastion's Hospital is operated by regular and reserve personnel of the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force of the Joint Force Medical Group as well as medical assets from the US Army to include Orthopaedic Surgeons, General Surgeons, Anesthetists, Nurses and Medics, and is the location to where wounded military personnel from the British, US and other ISAF forces in Helmand Province are evacuated to from the battlefield and treated, supported by US Army, Navy, and Air Force medics, or from where they are evacuated to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Afghan nationals are also treated at the hospital in many circumstances including accidental injuries and road traffic collisions. Currently they are the busiest Role 3 NATO hospital in Afghanistan.
In popular culture
Camp Bastion has been featured in documentaries mainly focusing on aeromedical evacuations and the hospital however different aspects are also regularly shown.
- The Air Hospital (Channel 4) - Aired 25 March 2010.
- Frontline Medicine (BBC 2) - Aired 20 and 27 November 2011.
- Extraordinary Dogs (Documentary Channel).
- Prince Harry: Frontline Afghanistan (BBC3) - Aired 28 January 2013.
- "Change Of Command For CO 903 EAW At Camp Bastion". Royal Air Force. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "Commander Bastion takes charge of UK's main Helmand base and its airfield". Ministry of Defence. 18 Oct 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "Camp Bastion doubles in size". Ministry of Defence. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "Building Camp Bastion". Channel 4. 24 February 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2007.[dead link]
- Patrick Wintour (21 November 2006). "Bleak Camp Bastion - and a vision of roses and saffron". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- Casciani, Dominic; Coleman, Clive (29 May 2013). "Afghans 'unlawfully held' by UK forces at Camp Bastion". London: BBC News. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- "Afghans 'Detained Illegally' At Camp Bastion, Lawyers Claim". The Huffington Post. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- Raymond Whitaker (3 December 2006). "Camp Bastion: Welcome to Helmand". The Independent. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- "US marines killed in Afghan attack on Camp Bastion". British Broadcasting Corporation. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "ISAF provides additional details on Camp Bastion attack". International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). 16 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
- "IN PICTURES: New runway takes shape at Camp Bastion". Ministry of Defence. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "903 Expeditionary Air Wing". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- "RAF Chinooks continue operations In Afghanistan - Tactical and Strategic Aeromedical Evacuation". Boeing. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- "Princess Anne flies into Camp Bastion to boost morale among troops in run-up to Christmas". Daily Mail. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Foxhounds put through their paces". British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS). Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Focus on Task Force Jaguar". BFBS. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "RAF protecting Camp Bastion". Ministry of Defence. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
- "The Air Hospital". Channel 4. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "TV programme showcases military medics' work in Helmand". Ministry of Defence. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- "Extraordinary Dogs". Documentary Channel. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- "Prince Harry: Frontline Afghanistan". BBC Three. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
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