Thursday, February 4, 2010

A little bit of history...

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan—The old Soviet aircraft control tower days after coalition forces secured the airfield. (Courtesy photo)

Bagram Airfield played a key role throughout the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. Bagram served as a base of operations for incoming troops and supplies and provided the preliminary staging point for the invading Soviet forces. 368th Assault Aviation Regiment, which flew Sukhoi SU-25‘s (Frogfoot), was based at Bagram and provided close air support for both Soviet and Afghan ground forces.

During their time at Bagram Airfield, the Soviets built three large bunkers, a control tower, and numerous support buildings and barracks.

Although the Soviets had a 10,000 foot runway, more than 32 acres of unused ramp space still existed. By 1989, the Soviets had five aircraft at their disposal, dispersal areas and 110 revetments.

After the Soviet forces withdrew in February 1989, the airfield remained abandoned during the subsequent Afghan civil war. During the 1990‘s, most of the buildings on base were either neglected or destroyed by Afghan factions fighting for control of the airfield. What remained from the once mighty Soviet occupation was rusting vehicles, corroding aircraft, dilapidated buildings, and abundant mine fields.

During the liberation of Afghanistan, Bagram Airfield was secured in early December 2001, by 40 Royal Marine Commando‘s, based at Somerset, England. They were soon joined by U.S. forces that consisted of the 10th Mountain Army Division, Special Operations Forces from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. and the 82nd Airborne from Fort Bragg, N.C.

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