An airman establishes communications upon arrival at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, last year. (Air Force)
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LOCATION: The base known to American troops as “M-K” is on Romania’s Black Sea coast, about 15 miles from a Romanian naval port and one of Europe’s largest shipyards in the city of Constanta.
MISSION: M-K is home to several thousand U.S. military personnel and has been an outpost for U.S. operations for more than a decade. It was a staging area before the Iraq invasion in 2003 and earlier this year became a hub for the logistics airlift out of Afghanistan. Defense experts say the Air Force will likely retain or even expand its longtime presence here, and the contingent of more than 500 Marines may grow in light of its proximity to NATO’s eastern border, the Middle East and North Africa.
LIFESTYLE: Constanta, a bustling city of 300,000, serves as a friendly harbor for U.S. ships steaming in the Black Sea and is popular with U.S. troops; it’s a tourist hotspot full of beachfront nightclubs with remarkably cheap beer.