New US Military Air Hub in Kuwait Set to Open for Business

Commercial aircraft taxi in the general vicinity of the Kuwait International Airport terminal expansion project and the current location of two Kuwait Air Force Bases and U.S. coalition forces in this Oct. 29, 2017. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.)
Commercial aircraft taxi in the general vicinity of the Kuwait International Airport terminal expansion project and the current location of two Kuwait Air Force Bases and U.S. coalition forces in this Oct. 29, 2017. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.)

There's a new, larger aerial supply port in the Middle East.

The U.S. Air Force, Army and coalition partners are nearly done constructing "Cargo City," an offshoot port near Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City, which will serve the U.S. military, allies and the Kuwait Air Force, according to a recent release.

The port, a strategic military logistics supply point, will function "as the largest aerial port of debarkation in the Middle East," the release said.

It's intended to fill a gap until its replacement, West Al-Mubarak Air Base, is scheduled to open sometime in 2023, it said.

"Once finished, the total functional space at 'Cargo City' will feature an area of nearly 33,000 square meters," Capt. Sean Murphy, civil engineering flight officer in charge of the project with the 387th Expeditionary Support Squadron, said in a statement.

The 387th is working with the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron team, as well as Air Forces Central Command's 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group and the Army's 505th Engineer Battalion.

"We are optimizing our workspace by reducing our footprint from 230,000 square meters, excluding the flightline," Murphy said.

Murphy said the port gives allies an extra hub, albeit a temporary one, for operations in the Middle East.

West Al-Mubarak Air Base will house future operations, while Cargo City will eventually become a permanent cargo holding area at the airport, officials said in February.

Air Force officials have said a new air base is crucial to more efficiently distribute cargo to U.S. and coalition forces across Middle East, acting as a new "gateway" for the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

Kuwaiti counterparts, along with the units, imported more than 1.24 million cubic meters of fill for the construction site. Teams worked for more than four months to move nearly 400 trucks of soil, dirt and rock daily.

Before electricity and power came in for communication lines, the 386th began building "war-reserve material shelters," which will "serve as the new operating location for the 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron's Aircraft Maintenance mission," the release said.

"Moving everything to an entirely new location does not seem ideal at first, and building an entire base from scratch is a different conversation altogether," Murphy said.

"After the site was prepared, we had three months to have the base move-in ready," said Capt. Jesse Lantz, 386 ECES deputy commander.

"The entire site was pretty much a 10-foot-deep hole and needed to be filled in and graded properly, which is a huge project in itself," Lantz said in the release.

"Just a short time ago, there was nothing here but a patch of land. It is amazing to see something of this scale develop in front of your eyes," he continued.

The $32 million project will also include a parking ramp and taxiway, both scheduled to be completed sometime in November, the release said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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