By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: The 386th Air Expeditionary Wing hosted a Media Day at Ali Al-Salem Air Base to showcase the base’s capabilities and highlight the strong partnership between the US Air Force, Kuwait, and their coalition partners. The event provided an opportunity for the media to witness firsthand the crucial role this air base plays in enhancing regional stability and delivering combat power. Col Abdulaziz Ali Behbehani, Search and Rescue Commander at Ali Al-Salem Air Base, revealed Kuwait owns six Eurofighter jets, along with a fleet of American-made aircraft, solidifying its status as a regional power with cutting-edge air defense capabilities.
He expressed optimism for future deals with the United States and coalition forces, underscoring Kuwait’s commitment to strengthening its military assets. Col Behbehani emphasized the importance of international cooperation, especially with the United States, in terms of sharing experiences and cultures. He highlighted Kuwait’s meaningful military exchanges and productive exercises with American, Italian and Canadian forces, which have enriched its expertise within the Kuwaiti air force.
He also highlighted ongoing training exchange programs among Kuwait, the United States and Canada, emphasizing their commitment to readiness and preparedness. Despite volatile circumstances in the region, Behbehani proudly noted that Kuwait remains a bastion of security and safety, thanks to its unwavering readiness to counter any threats, supported by the robust infrastructure of Kuwaiti military bases. This dedication to security is a testament to Kuwait’s commitment to regional stability and defense.
Col Julie Gaulin, Commander of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing at Ali Al-Salem Air Base, said cooperation between the US military and Kuwait is a dynamic and integral aspect of operations. This partnership extends to daily engagements on the airfield, where Kuwaiti and US defenders and military personnel work seamlessly together, demonstrating the strength of their collaboration. US forces receive training both in the United States and at the base, benefiting from the expertise of Kuwaiti and coalition partners.
This comprehensive training equips them to effectively deter any threats that may arise in the region. Col Gaulin mentioned that the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing is currently undergoing a rotation, with daily personnel numbers ranging from 500 to 2,000 individuals during these phases. After completing the rotation, the base maintains a standard of around 1,500 personnel daily. She also noted that a significant portion of the forces deployed to various areas of operation in the Middle East transit through Kuwait, highlighting its strategic importance as a gateway for military deployments in the region.
Additionally, she highlighted the diverse workforce at the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, with women making up an impressive 20 percent of its force, underlining the importance of alliances and partnerships for achieving collective objectives. The 386th Air Expeditionary Wing stressed the challenges of today cannot be tackled by the air force alone, emphasizing the significance of alliances and partnerships in delivering a resolute message to potential adversaries. They aim to be an indispensable partner in the region, focusing on maximizing regional capabilities to address mutual security concerns and promoting security and stability in the region through their military presence.
Their “Project Combat Power” underscores their role in executing a mission of national, regional, and global significance, delivering dominant coalition airpower to secure and stabilize the US CENTCOM areas of responsibility. Lieutenant Michael Greisman and Lieutenant Hannah Moriarty-Enggasser revealed that Ali Al-Salem Air Base is currently undergoing an impressive scale of development with 42 active construction projects with investment totaling $35 million. Looking ahead, the installation development plan for the next five years reveals an even more ambitious endeavor, with 77 projects on the horizon, carrying a combined price tag of $102 million.
What makes this initiative particularly noteworthy is the collaborative funding effort involving both the United States and Kuwait. Lieutenant-Colonel Ryan Matthies, Commanding Officer/Operational Support Hub – Kuwait of Camp Canada at Ali Al-Salem Air Base, pointed out that the dedicated troops at Ali Al-Salem Air Base are on the frontlines of missions across the region, playing a pivotal role in fostering peace and security. Their unwavering commitment to these missions reflects a shared ethos of cooperation and partnership.
He also highlighted that Camp Canada within Ali Al-Salem Air Base serves as a tangible symbol of Canada’s dedication to regional stability and security, showcasing its close partnership with the US Air Force and a coalition of nations united in their commitment to peace. During the event, local media representatives were taken on a tour to see the C-130J, MQ9, and Kuwaiti Caracal aircraft, with explanations of their capabilities and features. Additionally, the media had the opportunity to participate in a firefighter demo with gear try-on and witness a security forces military working dog demo.