Bright Star, Egypt, 06 Oct 1981-Nov 1981
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Beginning after World War II, the United States opposed all aspects of Egypt's belligerency toward Israel, but following Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's 1977 trip to Jerusalem, the 1978 Camp David agreements, and the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Egypt's policy toward Israel changed from belligerency to cooperation, and US policy toward Egypt changed as well.
In late 1979 tensions increased in the Middle East after the crisis in Iran. The 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing was directed to deploy to Egypt, and the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron conducted joint training missions with the Egyptian Air Force. From December 1979 to May 1980, two E-3s, crews and support personnel deployed to the European theater to conduct joint training in Central Europe and the Mediterranean area with elements of the US Navy's 6th Fleet and allied forces. This deployment marked the first time the E-3 operated in Egypt.
On 06 October 1981, while observing a military parade commemorating the eighth anniversary of the October 1973 War, Sadat was assassinated by members of Al Jihad movement, a group of religious extremists. Following the assassination of Sadat, a carrier battlegroup and the Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group were ordered to a position 120 n.mi. north of Egypt. The forces were sent to the region because of the possibility of Libyan involvement in the assassination and because of fears of Libyan aggression against either Egypt or the Sudan. The 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing returned to Egypt after the Sadat assassination. Two E-3s and some 200 operations and support personnel from the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron deployed to Egypt.
The 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron deployed to Egypt again in November 1981 to take part in the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force exercise Bright Star '82.
Bright Star exercises have been conducted every other year in conjunction with the Egyptian government since 1981. The United States and Egypt continue to hold periodic "Bright Star" exercises for infantry, airborne, artillery, and armored forces. The eighth exercise in the Bright Star series began 27 October 1995. Exercise Bright Star 98, which began on 25 October 1997, was a joint/combined coalition tactical air, ground, naval and special operations forces field training exercise in Egypt. Members of the US Central Command's Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine and special operations components, and members of the Air and Army National Guard, participated with forces from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
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