The next few posts will look Camp Anaconda in Iraq near the city of Balad about 70 miles north of Baghdad.
Anaconda Gate, by RakkasanHotroder at Webshots, Jan 13, 2006 - North Gate
Many Names, One Place
Anaconda has had and still has several names: Al-Bakr Air Base, named after a former Iraqi President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr (Saddam Hussein was his Vice President); Balad Air Base - name used by the US Air Force and more recently Logistics Support Area (LSA) Anaconda - name used by the US Army. For the sake of clarity and continuity from here out, LSA Anaconda.
LSA Anaconda is the primary logistics support base in Iraq. Located near the town of Balad, just north of Baghdad, it is spread over 15 square miles. The base is home to approximately 25,000 Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and civilians. The base has two runways and is the busiest airport in Iraq. LSA Anaconda directly supports all surrounding forward operating bases with personnel, equipment, and logistics support. (ref)In 2008, LSA Anaconda was reported as 'the busiest air base in the world operated by the Pentagon' and 'the second busiest airport in the world.' (ref)
OverviewAnaconda is just south of Balad and just west of the Tigris River. Depending on the route driven, Anaconda is about 20-25 miles from FOB Pacesetter. The two bases can be seen in this satellite image. Defintely zoom on on the map for more detail, including surface streets.
October 9, 2003 -- Kirk von Ackermann left a meeting at FOB Pacesetter near Balad. His vehicle was found later that day abandonned in the Jabal Hamrin mountains roughly 140 miles from FOB Pacesetter.
December 14, 2003 -- Ryan Manelick was killed just after leaving a meeting at LSA Anaconda also near Balad. Shortly before his murder, he alleged fraud within his company and that it involved US Army officers.
Both worked for Ultra Services of Istanbul, Turkey.
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Blue - FOB Pacesetter, also known as Samarra East Air Base
Red - LSA Anaconda, tags indicate north and south gates
Fire - Burn Pile
Yellow - the small cities of Balad and Samarra, also entrance to Highway 1