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387th AEG develops Cargo City to maintain operations

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Construction is currently underway to provide a work environment for U.S. coalition forces to continue aerial port operations in Kuwait City. The aerial port is a strategic logistics point to deliver passengers and cargo throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and its future was recently put in jeopardy due to a construction project timeline issue.

“If we didn’t fix this problem, we risked losing ‘the U.S. Central Command Gateway,’” said Col. Douglas Edwards, 387th Air Expeditionary Group commander. “There wasn’t a course of action we could have taken to relocate temporarily anywhere else in the AOR.”

The Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base, which is part of the Kuwait International Airport complex, serves as the headquarters for two Kuwait Air Force Bases and U.S. coalition forces. In May 2017, all three organizations were given exactly one year to move and make room for an airport expansion project of a new commercial terminal.

“This is the busiest aerial port of debarkation in CENTCOM,” Edwards said. “When you compare it to all the other aerial ports in the world, we are the biggest.”

The original plan to construct a new West Mubarak Air Base for military operations at the international airport required a change of plans as construction of the new airport terminal quickly advanced. Planners came up with an alternate solution that involved the construction of a temporary cargo facility called Cargo City.

“We have come together and built a partnership with key stakeholders to build Cargo City,” said Edwards. “There are regular meetings with at least 50 people in the room from different parts of the Kuwait government and we discuss how we are going to make Cargo City happen.”

Cargo City is the name of an undeveloped location adjacent to a vacant runway at the airport where both the Kuwait Air Force and U.S. military coalition will temporarily relocate before May until the new West Al-Mubarak Air Base is complete. Once complete, the total cantonment space at Cargo City will be 150,000 square meters with the U.S. using approximately 33,000 square meters of that.

“Typically what we try to do is tailor the space and infrastructure based on the mission,” said Capt. Kiet Chung, 387th Expeditionary Support Squadron Civil Engineer project engineer. “For this project we are tailoring the mission to the infrastructure.”

Chung is responsible for planning the entire temporary site and coordinating with more than 20 groups to solidify requirements. He also gave input into the design and was instrumental in procuring all the materials needed for the facility. Chung noted that a project like this would typically take a year to complete stateside.

The commitment of a network of entities in the U.S. and Kuwait to work together to make Cargo City a reality has sparked other opportunities for future collaborative efforts. The partnership and level of coordination has raised questions and stimulated a change of concept of how the host nation and the U.S. would like the new cargo facility to look.

Edwards expressed that the construction and the relocation process will not affect the mission in any way. The goal is to be able to continually operate without stopping the flow of cargo and passengers to the AOR.

“I am extremely proud of what this team has accomplished in six months. They came together from various skill sets and backgrounds and figured it out,” said Edwards.

Once the final move to the new West Mubarak Air Base is complete, Cargo City will become the permanent cargo holding area for the Kuwaiti airport, which was the original intent of the area.