Stars & Stripes:
When U.S. forces officially hand over Forward Operating Base Danger to the Iraqi government on Tuesday, it will be the 29th time an American base in Iraq has been relinquished. But, officials said Monday, handing over FOB Danger will be “the most significant transition of real estate thus far.”
That is in large part due to the complex’s history and singular identification with deposed ruler Saddam Hussein.
The complex is dominated by the Presidential Palace, built in 1991 for Saddam’s mother. Commanding a high spot of land on the Tigris River, the palace is the largest built by Saddam, whose birthplace is on the outskirts of Tikrit.
It’s in Tikrit, and was built for Saddam’s mother beginning in 1991.
Here’s a snippet of a press conference on October 28th with Major General Joe Taluto, the commander of the 42nd Infantry Division and Task Force Liberty:
Q: General, just to clarify a couple things. Number one, Saddam’s palace in Tikrit, that’s not your headquarters. That’s not the headquarters of the military for North-Central Iraq. That’s just one military headquarters. Am I wrong?
GEN. TALUTO: It has been the headquarters. The complex itself has been a U.S. FOB, known as FOB Danger. It was occupied by the 4th Division. It was occupied by the 1st Division, and it’s been occupied by the 42nd Division Headquarters. There will be no more U.S. presence at — and there will be no more FOB Danger. So the 101st who is replacing us is going to be headquarters — it will not be headquartered there. It’ll headquartered north of Tikrit.
Q: And just one more question. You said that, I believe, that 10 — you’ve closed 10 forward operating bases. You’ve been able to close or move away from 10 forward operating bases since June or July, as I remember. For some context, how many forward operating bases do you have in your area in order to give us a comparison?
GEN. TALUTO: We started with 27 bases when we came in, and so we’re down to 17. And the prospects for closing more are there. As the 101st gets in and gets past the election, and so on, and so forth, they’ll make their own assessments on where they can continue to draw down on bases.
The Iraqi Ministry of Finance will determine exactly what becomes of the complex.