Tag Archives: Camp Bastion

[Photo] Tidal Wave of Sand and Dust approaching Camp Bastion in Afghanistan

An interesting image of Camp Bastion eerily still as a sandstorm approaches one of the main strategic bases in Afghanistan.

As already explained, sandstorms move extremely fast and can completely darken large areas in a very short time.

Airfields in Afghanistan can be particularly affected by such phenomena. Camp Bastion, Helmand, the main strategic base in the southwestern part of the country (that includes U.S. Camp Leatherneck and UK’s Camp Bastion), where several aircraft are deployed, is one of them.

The image in this post, taken by Cpl Daniel Wiepen and published on social media by Imagery Team at the UK Ministry of Defence, shows what a tidal wave of sand and dust approaching the base looks like.

If you want to see what a similar scene looks like from inside a C-130J click here.

On Sept. 14, 2012, a squad of 15 Taliban fighters breached the perimeter fence and launched an assault on the airfield, that took out several US Marine Corps Harriers with the loss of two Marines including the Harrier squadron commander. Since then, base security spending has increased and the size of the mixed Task Force which provide Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion’s security has nearly tripled.

Interestingly, the above image shows also one of the two white “spy blimps” that along with next-generation cameras, ground-based observational surveillance systems, and a tiny drone, support the Task Force.

If you want to see the image of the sandstorm at higher resolution click here.

Image credit: Crown Copyright


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U.S. Marine Corps Harrier flight ops aboard USS Bonhomme Richard. As seen through the Night Vision Goggles.

The following cool video shows AV-8B+ Harrier jump jets (as those destroyed in the Taliban attack on Camp Bastion’s airfield in Afghanistan) belonging to the Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 542, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducting carrier landing qualifications at night aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard at sea.

VMA 542 is the fixed wing asset of the 31st MEU, the only continuously forward deployed MEU and U.S. Marine Corps force in readiness in the Asia Pacific region. Its Harrier jets provide close air support capabilities as well as long range reconnaissance.

VMA-211 mourns its Commander as it pushes forward to complete deployment in Afghanistan

Although it suffered the worst hit to enemy fire since WWII, enduring not only the loss of eight AV-8B+ Harrier jets in the Taliban attack on Camp Bastion’s airfiled, Marine Attack Squadron 211 remains fully operational and continues to fly in Helmand province, to provide support to ground troops in Southwest Afghanistan area of operation.

The insurgent attack that cost the life of the squadron’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Christopher Raible, and wiped out the majority of the American jump jets operating “in theater”, has not prevented the U.S. Marine Corps unit to fly the daily close air support missions for the infantry battalions or the patrol owerwatch sorties, aimed to spot typical ambush positions.

In fact, on Sept. 26, the squadron received six new airframes, both in the VMA-211 “Avengers” and in the VMA-231 “Ace of Spades” markings, to continue the deployment.

One of the aircraft is painted in memory of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, who were killed during an attack on Camp Bastion Sept. 14, 2012.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

U.S Marine Corps F/A-18A Hornet jets deploying to the Middle East

On Sept. 24, 12 U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18A Hornet jets arrived to Morón airbase, in Spain, coming from Lajes, Azores.

Belonging to the VMFA-314 Black Knights, from MCAS Miramar, California, the aircraft arrived in two waves as “Trend 61-66” and “Trend 71-76”.

Although someone speculated they were deploying to Afghanistan, where the U.S. has recently suffered a deadly attack at Camp Bastion’s airfield, where six Harriers were destroyed and two severely damaged, the VMFA-314 Hornets were enroute to an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

An exercise or a build-up in the Libya, Mali region?

Image credit: Antonio Muñiz Zaragüeta

Photo: This is what remains of a U.S. Marine Corps Harrier jet after the Taliban attack on Camp Bastion

The following picture, sent by a reader of the blog, shows what remains of one of the six Harrier jets in the aftermath of the Taliban attack on Camp Bastion on Sept. 14, 2012.

As a result of the attack, that cost the U.S. the worst air loss to enemy fire in one day since the Vietnam War, two Marines, including the Commanding Officer of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, six AV-8B+ aircraft were destroyed and two more severly damaged (possibly beyond repair).

Whereas the two surviving planes were immediately flown back to the U.S., new airframes (in the unit markings of VMA-211) have arrived at Camp Bastion airfield to replace those destroyed in the Taliban attack.

Source: unknown