The joint American-Egyptian military exercise, codenamed Bright Star, is now underway in the Egyptian desert, after an aircraft accident which claimed the lives of thirteen Americans.
GV Transport aircraft on ground with nose raised
SV U.S. Troops unloading equipment from plane
GV Troops on tarmac with equipment
CU ZOOM OUT TO GV Troops offloading helicopter from aircraft
CU Rocket launchers on side of helicopter
GV Helicopter rolled onto tarmac
CU Airborne Division flash on soldier's shoulder
CU Helicopter being towed away
GVB Soldiers receiving food at field kitchen (2 shots)
CU ZOOM OUT TO GV Soldiers eating in desert
GV Convoy of jeeps lined up on tarmac and motorcyclists (2 shots)
GV Tent camp, armoured vehicle in foreground
GV Soldiers walking past rows of tents (2 shots)
GV U.S. transport aircraft flying over desert
SV Egyptian soldiers stopping camera crew from filming at checkpoint
GV Wreckage of crashed plane, wheels apart from general Debires
LV Wheels and wreckage
GV Soldiers searching through wreckage
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Background: The joint American-Egyptian military exercise, codenamed Bright Star, is now underway in the Egyptian desert, after an aircraft accident which claimed the lives of thirteen Americans. A giant C-141 Starlifter cargo plane crashed into the desert while transporting equipment to Cairo. But U.S. and Egyptian military authorities decided the exercise should go ahead, despite its tragic opening.
SYNOPSIS: Operation "Bright Star" is the culmination of months of detailed planning and close co-operation between the Egyptian and American armed forces. For several days leading up to the exercise, U.S. transport planes were landing almost hourly at Cairo West airbase, unloading hundred of tons of military equipment. It is also a massive manpower operation, involving fourteen hundred Americans, many of them highly trained paratroopers.
The joint exercise is expected to run for about two weeks, providing vital training for day and night attacks in the desert. The paratroopers, supported by eight "A-7" ground attack planes, are part of a rapid deployment force set up by President Carter for emergencies in the Middle East and the Gulf region. Much of the strike force's training is based around the use of helicopters in desert attacks. But the exercise also provides an opportunity to test the armed forces' support facilities, like the field kitchens equipped to keep the hundreds of soldiers adequately fed.
The strike force's intensive training is considered essential because it has no troops permanently assigned to it. The force's commander General Kelley, calls up troops as he needs them, and in all, he had more the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines at his disposal. Operation "Birth Star" officially began on Tuesday (11 November), but military spokesmen said it would be several days before the full-scale exercise got underway. News teams were allowed to record the preparations for the exercise, but the two armies were sensitive about film crews getting too close to the various checkpoints.
As the exercise began, investigators were still sifting through the wreckage of the Starlifter jet which crashed on Wednesday night (12 November), killing all thirteen men on board. The plane crashed as it was coming in for a landing at Cairo West air base, spreading wreckage up to three miles (5 kilometres) from the runway. American Defence spokesmen said the "C-141", the backbone of the U.S. transport fleet, had been in service for 10 years with an outstanding safety record.