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U.S. Air Force base located near Tripoli, Libya.

Wheelus was established as an American military installation in 1954. In return for base rights, the regime of King Idris received military assistance grants and the right to purchase excess stocks of U.S. weapons.

In 1964, Arab nationalism and anti-Western sentiment forced King Idris to call for a withdrawal of Britain's and America's forces. Following the overthrow of Idris in 1969, the United States completed its planned withdrawal and turned the facility over to Libya on 11 June 1970. Libyan pilots subsequently trained there under the guidance of French instructors. Since 1970, 11 June has been a national holiday in Libya.


Metz, Helen Chapin, ed. Libya: A Country Study, 4th edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989.

stuart j. borsch

Wheelus Air Force Base

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