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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Coalitions Forces Convert Desolate Airbase

Aired March 29, 2003 - 06:26   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Anderson, we have a chance right now to check in with our Bob Franken. He is at an airbase in southern Iraq and brings us the latest from there.
Bob, hello.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello.

You can see behind me, Daryn, the A-10s. These are the anti-tank planes. This is a wave of them that is now coming into this airbase that just a day ago was really nothing more than a desolate, empty airbase that has not been used by the Iraqis for 10 years. But the United States and the coalition forces have now taken it over and they quickly turned it into a (INAUDIBLE) staging area for the A-10s and the other aircraft that are going to be flying from here.

Now, what we're able to report is when they land after their operation is over, we can show you scenes like this. We, of course, were aware that they would be coming in, but under the rules that we work with, we were not able to report that.

We can also report, now that it has occurred, that some others have taken off. What they're doing now is coming here and refueling and either heading back to their base about 150 miles south of here or back into what they call the theater, the military operations. The advantage is here that they have about 25 more minutes that they can hover over the military area. And this is a huge advantage as they do their mission of supporting the ground war.

So one of the big missions that they hope to accomplish is being accomplished. And it's going to be at (ph) more and more active here and that is the facilities to deal with the A-10 anti-tank planes and all the others that now will be able to operate from what they call a forward airbase, Daryn, which is about 150 miles in the southeast of Iraq -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Bob Franken, at that airbase in southern Iraq, thank you very much.

We're about a half hour away from the briefing at CENTCOM from Doha, Qatar.

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