That historic event occurred after several month of negotiations.Life on The Rock is austere, even by the standards of Southwest Asia's deployed locations.
The Harriers are assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and are flying in support of Operation Southern Watch, which is the U. and coalition enforcement of the no-fly-zone over Southern Iraq.
As of 1999 a contingent of the British Royal Air Force was composed of 12 Tornado planes at Ali al-Salem air base, in western Kuwait.
The radar site here serves as the sole mechanism for monitoring Iraqi airspace when the AWACS aircraft are not out patrolling the skies.
As of 1998 AV-8B Harrier jets were on the flight line of Ali Al Salem Air Base.
The 9th Air Expeditionary Group provides air surveillance and control through that same radar site, while a fleet of C-130 Hercules provide theater airlift and, if necessary, combat search and rescue and aeromedical evacuation for Operation Southern Watch forces.
The 9th AEG has brought all those functions under one umbrella.Most reasonable people would agree that these factors alone make for a "less than enlightening cultural experience.The mission at The Rock, while far less glamorous than that of other bases in Southwest Asia, is equally important.At the Ali Al Salem AFB the 9th AEG consists of 6 permanent (one year) personnel, along with 700 personnel on 90-day rotations with 14-day turnovers.The most forward USAF location in AOR, it is located 40 nautical miles from Iraq. Missions include Combat Rescue (2 HC130s)(4 MH53s); Theater A/L (2 C130s), and a Patriot Battery.The rescue mission in Southwest Asia has been quiet since the Persian Gulf War because no Operation Southern Watch pilot has ever been shot down.