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Camp Bastion

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File:An Ambulance Waits to Receive a Casualty from a Chinook at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan MOD 45152970.jpg
An ambulance waits to receive a casualty from a Chinook on the helipad.
File:Medical Facility at Camp Bastion MOD 45150812.jpg
Medical Treatment Facility in 2008, one of the few solid buildings in the camp

Camp Bastion is a Ministry of Defense airbase located northwest of the city of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The base has barracks for the Afghan National Army.

Between 2005 and October 2014 it was the logistics hub for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Helmand during the War in Afghanistan and Operation Herrick,[1][2] it was capable of accommodating up to 28,000 people.[3][4]

The camp was built by the British Army and was the largest British overseas military camp built since the Second World War.[3] The base was also home to troops from a number of nations including the United States of America and Tonga.[5]

Bastion contains Afghan National Army (ANA) Camp Shorabak, and held Camp Leatherneck until 2014.[3]

In November 2006, the then British Prime Minister 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".[6]

History

The camp started out with just a few tents in 2005[3] however from early 2006 personnel from 39 Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers and various contracting firms, all under the supervision of 62 Works Group Royal Engineers started to build the base with more robust facilities, 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.[7]

The base's name is derived from the company that provided the bomb-proof bags used to define the camps boundaries; Hesco Bastion.[8] The first camp to be built was Camp 251 which housed the construction force and they were housed in tents.[9]

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.

Camp Bastion includes Bastion Airfield, Bastion Garrison and the Camp Leatherneck.[10]

As of September 2014 it was reported that both Bastion 2 & 3 have been reverted to desert.[9]

Camp Bastion airfield and heliport handled up to 600 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft movements every day in 2011, operating combat, medical and logistics flights.[1] Its air traffic controllers were integral to the support of the UK's operations in southern Afghanistan and the Air Traffic Control Squadron at Camp Bastion was the first to recruit and train US Marines to UK air traffic control standards.[11]

The first runway capable of landing C-17's direct from the United Kingdom opened on 3 December 2007.Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied

In February 2014, snow fell in Camp Bastion for the first time since the base was established, eight years earlier.[12]

The camp was handed over to the control of the Afghan security forces in October 2014.[2][4]

On 27 November 2014, insurgents infiltrated Camp Bastion. As of Sunday 30 November, the Afghan National Army had not fully driven out the "Taliban" fighters. At least five ANA soldiers were killed in the attack.[13]

United Kingdom

The main user of the camp was the United Kingdom which based a number of rotary and a few fixed-wing aircraft.

During June 2011 a brand new air traffic control tower was opened[14]which was built by 170 Engineer Group.[15]

The main aviation unit was No. 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.[16] which operated the Raytheon Sentinel R1 - Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR)[17] along with AgustaWestland Apaches, Westland Sea Kings and Thales Watchkeepers.

This was supplemented by No. 1310 Flight RAF which operated Boeing Chinooks.

The UK had a large number of major units based here:

  • Crew Training School (for vehicles).
  • Joint Force Support (Afghanistan).[18]
  • Joint Force Medical Group.[19]
  • Military Working Dogs Squadron.
  • Theatre Logistic Group.[9]

The base was protected by the Bastion Force Protection Wing as part of the multi-national Task Force Belleau Wood.[20]

During August 2013 the Headquarters of Task Force Helmand moved from Lashkar Gah to Bastion.[21]

In 2013, a training school for Afghan troops was opened.[22]

By March 2014, the population of the camp had reduced to 4,000 UK service personnel, as preparations were well-underway for UK military withdrawal from Helmand[23] in October 2014.[4]

United States

The United States Military used part of Bastion Airfield for their aircraft and they had their own camp within Camp Bastion until 26 October 2014.

The last unit was the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) which began operating from April 2014. It consisted of:

Other countries

Camp Bastion has been used by various countries including Denmark (until 20 May 2014), Estonia (until 9 May 2014) and Tonga (until 28 April 2014).

Accidents and incidents

Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied The base has been attacked several times including on 14 September 2012, when two United States Marine Corps (USMC) service personnel were killed[26] and six USMC McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier IIs were destroyed and two were "significantly damaged." Three refuelling stations were also destroyed, with six soft-skin aircraft hangars damaged. Of the 15 Taliban attackers, 14 were killed and 1 captured.[27][28]

In May 2013 the BBC obtained documents showing that up to 85 Afghan nationals were being detained at Camp Bastion.[29] Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, has confirmed that the UK is holding "80 or 90 Afghan detainees" at the base.[30] The Ministry of Defence maintains the detention of the Afghans is legal.[30]

Hospital

Camp Bastion's Hospital was built by 170 Engineer Group[15] and was operated by regular and reserve personnel of the British Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force of the Joint Force Medical Group,[19] as well as medical assets from the US Army. Medical staff included Orthopaedic Surgeons, General Surgeons, Anaesthetists, Nurses and Medics. The hospital was the location to which wounded military personnel from the British, US and other ISAF forces in Helmand Province were evacuated from the battlefield for treatment, supported by US Army, Navy, and Air Force medics, or from which they were further evacuated to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Afghan nationals were also treated at the hospital in many circumstances including accidental injuries and road traffic collisions.Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied The hospital was closed down during September 2014.[31]

Commanders

  • Group Captain Tony Innes (2013-2014).
    • Deputy Commander John Lyle (June 2013 – December 2013)
  • Jeff Portlock (August 2012 – February 2013)
  • Group Captain John Cunningham (Unknown-September 2010)
  • Colonel Angus Mathie (Dec 2009 - June 2010)[1]

In media

Camp Bastion has been featured in several documentaries, often focusing on medical evacuations.

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ a b c Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied
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  4. ^ a b c Drwiega, Andrew. "Combat Operations Cease from Camp Bastion-Leatherneck" Aviation Today, 28 October 2014. Accessed: 29 October 2014.
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  13. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/world/asia/taliban-overrun-an-afghan-army-base-.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A11%22%7D&_r=0
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  15. ^ a b Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied
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  19. ^ a b Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied
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  28. ^ Also, this article in the Guardian, April 2014
  29. ^ Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied
  30. ^ a b Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied
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Bibliography

  • Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(/home/file.log): failed to open stream: Permission denied

External links

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