Diego Garcia

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Diego Garcia is the largest island of the Chagos Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory (B.I.O.T.). Physically, it is located on a shallow area called the Great Chagos Bank.

While the islands probably were uninhabited until the 18th century, they were settled by people who sailed a considerable distance. An agricultural economy formed, based on coconuts.

In 1971, the plantations were closed, the civilians relocated, and a Anglo-American support facility taking over the entire island. Today, under the command of a Royal Navy Commander, Great Britain maintains a presence on the Island, with the Headquarters, British Forces, BIOT, and the Royal Overseas Police. There is a U.S. Navy Support Facility, whose mission is:
“To provide logistic support to operational forces forward deployed to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf AORs in support of national policy objectives.”[1]

There are 16 commands on the island, of the Navy, Army, and Air Force.

Communications

One of the first units was a Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station. [2] Besides the prepositioning ships, Naval units include:

  • Navy Support Facility
  • Naval Security Group Det.
  • Military Sealift Command Office
  • Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Det
  • Naval Mobile Construction Det.
  • Navy Personnel Support Det
  • Det. Patrol Squadron 4; flies P-3 Orion
  • Patrol Reconnaissance Wing One; flies P-3 Orion
  • Pacific Division Naval Facilities Eng Command Det.

Airfield

The airfield is able to handle heavy bombers and transports. B-52 aircraft definitely staged from there in the Gulf War, with aircraft losses in accidents.

In mid-September 2002 it was reported that the US had requested permission to build special shelters for four to six B-2 bombers at Diego Garcia. both Diego Garcia and Guam appear to be used as forward staging bases for the B-2 Spirit.[2]

Air Force units include:

  • Pacific Air Forces Det 1
  • Pacific Air Forces Det 13
  • Det 1, 13th Air Force; supporting United States Central Command "Provides facilities, munitions, vehicles, Aerospace Ground Equipment, supplies and aviation fuel to sustain deployed bomber and tanker sortie operations." [2]
  • Det 1, 730th Air Mobility Support Squadron; runs an air transportation hub
  • Det 2, 18th Space Surveillance Squadron; operates electro-optical space surveillance equipment
  • Det 2, 22nd Space Operations Squadron; part of the Air Force Satellite Control Network, which supports of over 140 Department of Defense and national agency satellites
  • 40th Air Expeditionary Wing; provides ground support for B-52 and KC-135 aircraft
  • 613th Air Support Squadron; logistics for Thirteenth Air Force, Pacific Air Forces

Prepositioning ships

Two squadrons of prepositioning ships are stationed there. There are three kinds of ship, which operate in joint squadrons:[3]

  • Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) in support of the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Combat Prepositioning Ships (CPSs) in support of the U.S. Army
  • Logistics Prepositioning Ships, (LPS) in support of the U.S. Navy, Defense Logistics Agency, and U.S. Air Force.

The ships are civilian-owned, and chartered by the United States Transportation Command

Maritime Prepositioning Squadron Two

  • MV American Cormorant (CPS)
  • MV Strong Virginian (CPS)
  • MV Buffalo Soldier (LPS)
  • SS Green Valley (CPS)
  • MV Green Harbour (CPS)
  • MV Jeb Stuart (CPS)
  • MV Lt. Alex Bonnyman (MPF)
  • MV Pfc. William B. Baugh (MPF)
  • SS Cape Jacob (LPS)
  • MV Pvt. Franklin J. Phillips (MPF)
  • MV Cpl. Louis J. Hauge Jr. (MPF)
  • MV Pfc. James Anderson Jr. (MPF)
  • USNS Henry J. Kaiser (LPS)
  • SS Potomac (LPS)
  • MV Maj. Bernard F. Fisher (LPS)

Afloat Propositioning Ships Squadron 4

Operates from Diego Garcia

  • USNS Gilliland (CPS)
  • USNS Watson (CPS)
  • USNS Sisler (CPS)
  • USNS Bob Hope (CPS)
  • USNS Dahl (CPS)
  • USNS Red Cloud (CPS)

Central Intelligence Agency

There have been reports of a CIA detention facility here.

References