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Iraqi Air Force celebrates opening new facilities at Ali Air Base

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eric Donner
  • 321st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
After months of planning and the transfer of Squadron 70, the Iraqi Air Force opened new facilities at Ali Base. The opening of these facilities at Ali Air Base, the home of Squadron 70 is a milestone for the Iraqi Air Force on the way to securing the southern provinces.

"Today is a very exciting day as we welcome the Iraqi Air Force back to Nasariyah, a base critical to the future of Iraq's air sovereignty," said Brig. Gen. Scott Hanson, commander of the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing and director of Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission - Air Force. "It opens a new chapter in the long and distinguished history of the Iraqi Air Force."

Squadron 70 moved to Ali Base Oct. 17 from Basra. Since the move, Squadron 70 has provided surveillance and reconnaissance support of the Hajj, provided ISR support for Iraqi Security Forces and secured Iraqi's vital infrastructure and borders.

"This base now provides critical mission support to the Iraqi Air Force's fleet of CH-2000 aircraft as they carry out their surveillance and reconnaissance mission, securing Iraqi infrastructure and helping to keep their fellow Iraqi citizens safe from harm," said General Hanson. "Bringing a flying unit onto a new base is never an easy job. To prepare the base for its new mission many tasks needed to occur before Squadron 70 could launch its first sortie."

To date U.S. Forces-Iraq has transferred excess equipment and open facilities to enable Squadron 70's operations at Ali Air Base. This includes the newly refurbished dining facility that held a traditional Iraqi meal from both the Iraqi Air Force and U.S. forces attending the ceremony.

"I am honored to be here as a part of this big event," said Staff Lt. Gen. Anwar, Iraqi Air Force Chief of Staff. "It took a lot of work to put bring Squadron 70 to Ali Base. It is thanks to the U.S. military advisors, the Ministry of Defense, and the Iraqi Air Force that we are able to celebrate today. This base ensures the Iraqi Air Force is capable to take the steps to secure Iraq."