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Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base

The Incirlik Air Base in Turkey is important to U.S. supplies and logistics in Iraq. Heightened tensions between Turkey and the U.S. has put this air base in the spotlight, as an example of Turkey’s importance to NATO and U.S. military strategy in the Middle East.

GlobalSecurity.org has a brief report on the air base, stating:

Close to many of the world’s potential trouble spots—Iraq, Armenia and Iran to name a few—Incirlik Air Base is an important base in NATO’s Southern Region. As a prime staging location, Incirlik offers a 10,000-foot main runway and 9,000-foot alternate runway, both sitting amidst 57 hardened aircraft shelters. It also serves as a regional storage center for war reserve materiels — supplies and equipment used in combat operations.

Prior to September 11, 2001 the base’s human element included nearly 1,400 US Air Force military members, more than 670 US and Turkish civilian employees, more than 2,000 family members, nearly 900 Turkish maintenance contractors, and approximately 1,700 people deployed to support ONW.

A new mission kicked off in mid-2005 with the arrival and departure of C-17 Globemaster IIIs carrying cargo to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The new mission, which works on a “hub and spoke” concept, calls for cargo to come into the base from Charleston Air Force Base, S. C., and be transferred to several locations in Iraq. The cargo hub mission moved to Incirlik from Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, in an effort to conserve Air Force resources. It’s a fuel and flying time issue. It is more efficient for the C-17 because the cargo is delivered closer to Iraq without going to Iraq itself. By moving it to Incirlik, it is possible to move more cargo with fewer planes.

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