Nouasseur Air Base near
Casablanca, French Morocco is a
former United States Air
Force Strategic Air
Command (SAC) base.
It was designed for B-36
Nouasseur AB is known as Mohammed V
USAF air base siting in French Morocco developed out of the Allied
presence there at the close of World War
. Early in the 1950s, SAC developed a reflex operation strategy between its
southern bases and Morocco, with B-36 and
B-47 wings rotating to North Africa for extended temporary duty as a staging area for bombers pointed at the Soviet Union.
Nouasseur Air Base was constructed by the Morrison-Knudsen
(M-K) Consortium, assisted
by the 496th Air Installation Squadron (AIS) of the US Air Force
from August 1951 to June 1952.
SAC's 5th Air Division
activated on 14 January 1951, at Offutt AFB, NE then moved without
personnel and equipment, to Rabat/Sale in May 1951, absorbing the
resources and responsibilities of the USAF Mission to Morocco. The
division was assigned the task of manning, training and equipping
assigned units and preparing installations in French Morocco for
the support of deployed SAC units.
In December 1951, the 118th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
was transferred to Nouasseur. The majority of the 118th Aircraft
Control and Warning Squadron personnel were located at Nouasseur
Air Base, but they also had detachments in the field in the
and the Sahara Desert
. Their mission was to calibrate,
set up, and maintain early warning and tactical control radar
and radio sites in support of the Strategic Air
Nouasseur Air Base was critically important for SAC during its
forward deployment exercises. Nouasseur was quite capable of
hosting any of SAC's aircraft, with an asphalted-concrete runway
of 12,000 feet. The airfield became
operational in June 1952.
aircraft flown by SAC to Morocco from the United States remained on alert status for a specified number of
days, then redeployed back to their CONUS bases.
The 5th Air
Division never had any assigned units, such as wings, only
individual aircraft that were assigned to units back in the United
States. The division commander also acted as a representative to
the Moroccan Liaison Office for the Commander, 16th Air Force
During the middle and late-1950s]], SAC adopted a dispersal
program—spreading out its potential as a Soviet target by placing
its aircraft, weapons, and personnel on many more bases, with each
bombardment wing having two additional installations to which it
could disperse. Nouasseur was one of a ring of overseas SAC air
bases from Greenland to North Africa.
In addition, SAC devised a deployment program to use its
, which Nouasseur hosted,
rotating squadrons on a 90-day basis and kept the aircraft on
15-minute alert for that time period. The overseas bases moved the
B-47s into effective range of their targets without aerial refueling
USAFE F-86 Sabres began flying gunnery training missions during the
spring of 1954 from Nouasseur.
The 5th Air Division was deactivated on 15 January 1958. It was
replaced by the 4310th Air
, which remained the host unit until the base was
closed in 1963.
destabilization of French government in Morocco, and Moroccan
independence in 1956, the government of Mohammed V wanted the US
Air Force to pull out of the SAC bases in Morocco, insisting on
such action after American intervention in Lebanon in
States agreed to leave as of December 1959, and was fully
out of Nouasseur Air Base, closing the facility on 15 August