Huge military base in northern Saudi Arabia
, near the town of Hafr al Batin
and roughly due north of Riyadh
. Colloquially known as the Emerald City
. It was designed by American engineers during the Cold War
, and completed in 1986 at a cost of roughly $10 billion (estimates vary), including nearly $700 million of Department of Defense
aid, to house 65,000 personnel.
KKMC is shaped like an octagon, and is surrounded on all sides by desert pavement that stretches out for miles. It is roughly two hours from both Iraq and Kuwait, and its location made it one of the principal staging areas of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
Before the Gulf War, the American presence at KKMC was limited to a handful of engineers. While the American population surged in 1990 and 1991, virtually all the Americans in the area left by July of 1991, largely because of KKMC's extreme isolation in the An Nafud desert, one of the most conservative Islamic areas of Saudi Arabia. The DoD planned to store combat supplies at KKMC in the event of another war with Iraq, but the Saudi government refused to allow further American use of KKMC and forced the US to place its caches in Kuwait.
KKMC currently houses the Saudi Army Aviation Command and its flights of Apache helicopters.