Patriots deploy to Turkey
Released: 25 Jan 1999
by 1st Lt. Todd Fleming
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFPN) -- Elements of Patriot missile batteries from Germany deployed through the Kaiserslautern Military Community recently, en route to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, at the r equest of the Turkish government.
The Patriots are part of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and are being deployed in response to hostile statements by the Iraqi government following Desert Fox.
Department of Defense officials indicated that they do not anticipate hostilities but believe the deployment is a prudent precaution.
They cited the deployment as a reflection of NATO's long-standing commitment to Turkey's defense, to peace and security in the region, and U.S. resolve in the face of Saddam Hussein's recent threats to countries hosting coalition forces.
Although the exact number of people and equipment deploying has not been released, a Patriot battery is made up of eight launchers and is authorized approximately 100 soldiers, plus an additional 75 soldiers who serve as a command and control element.
The deployment is expected to last between 30 and 60 days.
Patriot batteries were processed by KMC Army units before arriving at Ramstein to start their air journey to Turkey.
Following processing by KMC Army support units, the personnel and equipment flowed here for final processing and air transport to their final decision
The 86th Logistics Group sent five people to the Army location to provide technical assistance to the Army and help prepare the cargo. The Ramstein deployment center has been continuously employed for operational missions since the latter half of 1998, said Capt. Gary Santoro, installation deployment officer.
The group was critical to the embassy bombing response in August, the build-up for potential action in Kosovo in September and October, the Patriot deployment to Israel in November and December and support to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, during Desert Fox, added Santoro.
"We are the force-projection platform for Central Europe by air," said Santoro.
The equipment was transported on Air Mobility Command C-17 and C-5 aircraft to Incirlik.
While at Ramstein, it was maintained and loaded by the 623rd Air Mobility Support Squadron, who own and support the largest en route aerial port in the Air Force.
Santoro cited the joint nature of the operation and lauded the Army for their efforts during past deployments.
"This is another example of Army and Air Force units working side by side to accomplish the mission," he said.
"We nicknamed this place the purple ramp because it is an interservice operation," said Army Capt. Matt Baker, commander of the air terminal movement control team. "Without the Air Force, the 86 Airlift Wing and Air Mobility Command, we would not be able to do this. Their expertise was indispensable. From my experience, this has been the best deployment I've seen."
* C-5 Galaxy