Operation Southern Watch
Operation Southern Watch was an air-centric military operation conducted by the United States Department of Defense from Summer 1992 to Spring 2003. United States Central Command's Joint Task Force Southwest Asia had the mission of monitoring and controlling the airspace south of the 32nd Parallel in southern and south-central Iraq during the period following the end of the 1991 Gulf War until the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Operation Southern Watch began on 27 August 1992 with the stated purpose of ensuring Iraqi compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 of 5 April 1991, which demanded that Iraq, "...immediately end this repression and express the hope in the same context that an open dialogue will take place to ensure that the human and political rights of all Iraqi citizens are respected." Nothing in the resolution spelled out Operation Southern Watch. Following the end of Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi bombing and strafing attacks against the Shi’ite Muslims in Southern Iraq during the remainder of 1991 and into 1992 indicated that Saddam Hussein chose not to comply with the resolution.
Military forces from Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France participated in Operation Southern Watch. The commander of JTF-SWA, an aeronautically rated United States Air Force Major General, assisted by an aeronautically designated United States Navy Rear Admiral, reported directly to the Commander, United States Central Command. Military engagements in Southern Watch occurred with regularity, with Coalition aircraft being shot at by Iraqi air defense forces utilizing surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery, although such incidents were only reported in the Western press occasionally. An intensification was noted prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, though it was said at the time to just be in response to increasing activity by Iraqi air-defense forces, it is now known that this increased activity occurred during an operation known as Operation Southern Focus. At first, Iraqi forces did not attack Coalition aircraft. However, after the United Nations voted to maintain sanctions against Iraq, Iraqi forces began to fire on the aircraft and American E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft reported an unusual amount of Iraqi Air Force activity.
On 27 December 1992, a lone Iraqi MiG-25 Foxbat crossed into the no-fly zone and flew towards a flight of USAF F-15 Eagles before turning north and using its superior speed to outrun the pursuing Eagles. In the day, several Iraqi fighters dodged back and forth across the 32nd parallel, staying out of missile range of American fighters. However, an Iraqi MiG-25 crossed too far and was trapped inside the 32nd parallel by a flight of USAF F-16 Falcons of the 33rd Fighter Squadron. After intelligence verified the aircraft was hostile, the fighter pilot received clearance to fire; the lead plane piloted by then-Lieutenant Colonel Gary North, USAF, fired a missile which destroyed the Iraqi fighter. This was the first combat kill by an F-16 in USAF service, the first combat kill using the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. On 17 January 1993, a USAF F-16C destroyed an Iraqi MiG-23 Flogger with an AMRAAM missile for the second USAF aerial victory. On 7 January 1993, Iraq agreed to American and French demands to withdraw their surface-to-air missiles from below the 32nd parallel.
However, they did not remove all of them, U. S. President George H. W. Bush ordered U. S. aircraft to bomb the remaining missile sites. On 13 January, more than 100 American and French aircraft attacked Iraqi missile sites near Nasiriyah, Najaf, Al-Amarah. Around half the Iraqi sites south of the 32nd parallel were hit. On 29 June, a USAF F-4G Phantom II destroyed an Iraqi radar which had illuminated it, a month two U. S. Navy EA-6B Prowlers fired AGM-88 HARM missiles at more Iraqi radars; the first nine months of 1994 were quiet, the USAF began to withdraw forces from the region. In October, Saddam deployed two divisions of Iraqi Republican Guard troops to the Kuwaiti border after demanding that UN sanctions were to be lifted, precipitating Operation Vigilant Warrior, the rushing of American troops to the Persian Gulf region. Saddam withdrew the Iraqi Republican Guard out of the Kuwati border due to massive American military buildup; this served to increase Coalition contain Iraqi aggression. On 25 June 1996, terrorists bombed the U.
S. base at Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia which housed personnel at King Abdulaziz Air Base supporting Operation Southern Watch. The attack injured an additional 372 people; this event led to a re-alignment of American forces in Saudi Arabia from Khobar Towers to Prince Sultan Air Base and Eskan Village, with both installations located away from population centers. In August 1996, Iraqi forces invaded the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq and American forces responded with Operation Desert Strike against targets in southern Iraq; as a result, the no-fly zone was extended north to the 33rd parallel. This marked renewed conflict with Iraqi air defenses and several more radars were destroyed by F-16 fighters. On 15 December 1998, France suspended participation in the no-fly zones, arguing that they had been maintained for too long and were ineffective. On 16 December, U. S. President Bill Clinton ordered execution of Operation Desert Fox, a four-day air campaign against targets all over Iraq, citing Iraq's failure to comply with UNSC Resolutions.
This resulted in an increased level of combat in the no-fly zones which lasted until 2003. On 30 December 1998, Iraqi SA-6 missile sites fired 6 to 8 surface-to-air missiles at American military aircraft. USAF F-16s responded
The Arabian Sea is a region of the northern Indian Ocean bounded on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Gulf of Aden, Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Peninsula, on the southeast by the Laccadive Sea, on the southwest by the Somali Sea, on the east by India. Its total area is 3,862,000 km2 and its maximum depth is 4,652 metres; the Gulf of Aden in the west, connects the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, the Gulf of Oman is in the northwest, connecting it to the Persian Gulf. The Arabian Sea has been crossed by many important marine trade routes since the third or second millennium BCE. Major seaports include Kandla Port, Okha Port, Mumbai Port, Nhava Sheva Port, Mormugão Port, New Mangalore Port and Kochi Port in India, the Port of Karachi, Port Qasim, the Gwadar Port in Pakistan, Chabahar Port in Iran and the Port of Salalah in Salalah, Oman; the largest islands in the Arabian Sea include Socotra, Masirah Island and Astola Island. The Arabian Sea's surface area is about 3,862,000 km2.
The maximum width of the Sea is 2,400 km, its maximum depth is 4,652 metres. The biggest river flowing into the Sea is the Indus River; the Arabian Sea has two important branches — the Gulf of Aden in the southwest, connecting with the Red Sea through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. There are the gulfs of Khambhat and Kutch on the Indian Coast; the countries with coastlines on the Arabian Sea are Somalia, Oman, Pakistan and the Maldives. There are several large cities on the sea's coast including Male, Cape Comorin, Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Kozhikode, Kasaragod, Bhatkal, Vasco, Malvan, Alibag, Daman, Surat, Khambhat, Diu, Mangrol, Dwarka, Jamnagar, Gandhidham, Koteshwar, Keti Bandar, Ormara, Gwadar, Muscat, Salalah, Al Ghaydah, Aden and Hafun; the International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Arabian Sea as follows: On the west: the eastern limit of the Gulf of Aden. On the north: a line joining Ràs al Hadd, east point of the Arabian Peninsula and Ràs Jiyùni on the coast of Pakistan.
On the south: a line running from the southern extremity of Addu Atoll in the Maldives, to the eastern extremity of Ràs Hafun. On the east: the western limit of the Laccadive Sea a line running from Sadashivgad on the west coast of India to Cora Divh and thence down the west side of the Laccadive and Maldive archipelagos to the most southerly point of Addu Atoll in the Maldives; the Arabian Sea and geographically has been referred to by many different names by Arabian and European geographers and travellers, including Indian Sea, Persian Sea, Sindhu Sagar, Arabbi Samudra, Erythraean Sea, Sindh Sea, Akhzar Sea. The Arabian Sea has been an important marine trade route since the era of the coastal sailing vessels from as early as the 3rd millennium BCE the late 2nd millennium BCE through the days known as the Age of Sail. By the time of Julius Caesar, several well-established combined land-sea trade routes depended upon water transport through the Sea around the rough inland terrain features to its north.
These routes began in the Far East or down river from Madhya Pradesh with transshipment via historic Bharuch, traversed past the inhospitable coast of today's Iran split around Hadhramaut into two streams north into the Gulf of Aden and thence into the Levant, or south into Alexandria via Red Sea ports such as Axum. Each major route involved transhipping to pack animal caravan, travel through desert country and risk of bandits and extortionate tolls by local potentates; this southern coastal route past the rough country in the southern Arabian Peninsula was significant, the Egyptian Pharaohs built several shallow canals to service the trade, one more or less along the route of today's Suez canal, another from the Red Sea to the Nile River, both shallow works that were swallowed up by huge sand storms in antiquity. The kingdom of Axum arose in Ethiopia to rule a mercantile empire rooted in the trade with Europe via Alexandria; the Port of Karachi is Pakistan's busiest seaport. It is located between the Karachi towns of Saddar.
The Gwadar Port is a warm-water, deep-sea port situated at Gwadar in Balochistan, Pakistan at the apex of the Arabian Sea and at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, about 460 km west of Karachi and 75 km east of Pakistan's border with Iran. The port is located on the eastern bay of a natural hammerhead-shaped peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Sea from the coastline. Port of Salalah in Salalah, Oman is a major port in the area; the International Task Force uses the port as a base. There is a significant number of warships of all nations coming in and out of the port, which makes it a safe bubble; the port handled just under 3.5m teu in 2009. Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai is the largest port in the Arabian Sea, the largest container port in India. Major Indian ports in the Arabian Sea are Mundra Port, Kandla Port, Nava Sheva, Kochi Port, Mumbai Port, Mormugão. There are several islands in the Arabian Sea, with the most important ones being Lakshadweep
A service ribbon, medal ribbon, or ribbon bar is a small ribbon, mounted on a small metal bar equipped with an attaching device, issued for wear in place of a medal when it is not appropriate to wear the actual medal. Each country's government has its own rules on what ribbons can be worn in what circumstances and in which order; this is defined in an official document and is called "the order of precedence" or "the order of wearing." In some countries, some awards are "ribbon only," having no associated medal. According to the Defense Logistics Agency, the U. S. military's standard size for a ribbon bar is 1 3/8 in wide, 3/8 inches tall, with a thickness of 0.8mm. The service ribbon for a specific medal is identical to the suspension ribbon on the medal. For example, the suspension and service ribbon for the U. S. government's Purple Heart medal is purple with a white vertical stripe at each end. However, there are some military awards that do not have a suspension ribbon, but have an authorized ribbon and unit award emblem.
The Soviet Order of Victory is a badge, worn on the military parade uniform. However, a ribbon bar representing the Order of Victory was worn on a military field uniform. Ribbon bars come in a variety of colors. In the case of the U. S. military, it maintains a specific list of colors used on its ribbons, based on the Pantone Matching System and Federal Standard 595 color systems: There is a variety of constructions of service ribbons. In some countries, service ribbons are mounted on a "pin backing", which can be pushed through the fabric of a uniform and secured, with fasteners, on the inside edge; these ribbons can be individually secured and lined up, or they can be all mounted on to a single fastener. After the Second World War, it was common for all ribbons to be mounted on a single metal bar and worn in a manner similar to a brooch. Other methods of wearing have included physically sewing each service ribbon onto the uniform garments. "Orders of wearing" define which ribbons may be worn on which types of uniform in which positions under which circumstances.
For example, miniature medals on dinner dress, full medals on parade dress, ribbons on dress shirts, but no decorations on combat dress and working clothing. Some countries maintain a standard practice of wearing full service ribbons on combat utility clothing. Others prohibit this; these regulations are similar to the regulations regarding display of rank insignia and regulations regarding saluting of more senior ranks. The reasoning for such regulations is to prevent these displays from enabling opposing forces to identify persons of higher rank and therefore aid them in choosing targets which will have a larger impact on the battlefield. In times of war, it is not uncommon for commanders and other high value individuals to wear no markings on their uniforms and wear clothing and insignia of a lower ranking soldier. Service medals and ribbons are worn in rows on the left side of the chest. In certain commemorative and/ or memorial circumstances, a relative may wear the medals or ribbons of a dead relative on the right side of the chest.
Medals and ribbons not mentioned in the "Order of wear" are generally worn on the right side of the chest. Sequencing of the ribbons depends on each country's regulations. In the United States, for example, those with the highest status—typically awarded for heroism or distinguished service—are placed at the top of the display, while foreign decorations are last in the bottom rows; when medals are worn, ribbons with no corresponding medals are worn on the right side. The study and collection of ribbons, among other military decorations, is known as phaleristics. Keith Payne, VC, OAMHis Excellency General The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC Sir Hans Jesper Helsø former General and Chief of Defence. Ecuadorian General of the Army Paco Moncayo Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel Admiral of the Fleet Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma In the U. S. military, the different services have different methods of wearing ribbon bars. In the U. S. Navy, they are worn in rows of three with no spacing between rows.
For U. S. Navy members who have three or more ribbons, they can elect to wear only their three highest-ranked ones instead of all of them. In the U. S. Marine Corps, they can be worn with optional staggering. In the U. S. Army staggered with spacing in between rows. A U. S. serviceman's complete ribbon display is referred to colloquially as a "ribbon rack" or "rack" for short. Field Marshal S. H. F. J. Manekshaw Phaleristics Order List of military decorations List of prizes and awards Awards and decorations of the United States military Danish service ribbons
Inter-service awards and decorations of the United States military
The United States military inter-service awards and decorations are those medals and ribbons which may be awarded to all members of the five military branches of the U. S. Armed Forces; each military branch awards inter-service awards under the same criteria. The World War I Victory Medal was the first inter-service award; this was followed by the Purple Heart,Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal decorations. Prior to this time, several older service medals had been issued both to the Army and Navy, but in different versions for each service; the World War I Victory Medal, Purple Heart, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal were thus the first medals which appeared identical, regardless of which service was bestowing the award. By the end of World War II, several World War II service medals had been established for issuance to both Army and Navy personnel; the United States Coast Guard received such awards under the authority of the Department of the Navy.
After World War II, The Korean Service Medal was the first inter-service non-decoration award, awarded by all five branches of the U. S. Armed Forces. Since 1956, 2010, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star Medal may be awarded by the Coast Guard. In the 1960s and 1970s, the U. S. Armed Forces created the Meritorious Service Medal, several campaign medals and service awards, all of which may be awarded by any service branch; the United States Department of Defense in the 1960s and 1970s began creating a series of peacetime meritorious awards which were eligible for presentation to any military member working in a joint command or under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. The last such medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal decoration, was created in 1983; the only inter-service unit award, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award was created in 1981. On April 5, 2011, President Barack Obama amended Executive Order 12824 modifying the award eligibility of the Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal to "any member of the Armed Forces of the United States" making it an inter-service award of the U.
S. military. This decoration has been given to Gen Craig R. McKinley for his service as Chief of the National Guard Bureau; the Medal of Honor a Navy award, is now technically an inter-service award, is issued in different versions for each branch of military service. There are presently three versions of the decoration in existence for the Army and Air Force. Marines receive the Navy version of the Medal of Honor while a Coast Guard version, which exists in theory, has never been bestowed; the following are the various military medals of the United States which are considered inter-service awards and decorations. Medals are shown in categories, not in order of precedence for uniform wear. Awards and decorations of the United States Armed Forces
Defense Logistics Agency
The Defense Logistics Agency is a combat support agency in the United States Department of Defense, with more than 26,000 civilian and military personnel throughout the world. Located in 48 states and 28 countries, DLA provides supplies to the military services and supports their acquisition of weapons, repair parts, other materials; the agency disposes of excess or unusable equipment through various programs. Through other U. S. federal agencies, DLA helps provide relief supplies to victims of natural disasters, as well as humanitarian aid to refugees and internally displaced persons. DLA is headquartered in Fort Belvoir Virginia, near Washington, D. C. DLA Headquarters contains numerous offices responsible for supporting the overall agency, it has The agency has several major subordinate activities operating in the field: DLA Aviation, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia supplies aircraft parts and expertise. DLA Disposition Services, based in Battle Creek, helps the military dispose of excess items.
In addition to typical military materiel, such as vehicles and uniforms, Disposition Services helps the military donate computers to primary schools, through the DoD Computers for Learning program. Defense Logistics Agency Distribution, headquartered in New Cumberland, transports items for DOD and other customers. DLA Energy provides fuel for aircraft and the U. S. space program, as well as commercial space exploration. It has provided helium for the U. S. Border Patrol surveillance aerostats. DLA Troop Support, headquartered in Philadelphia, supplies uniforms, medical, construction equipment, other items to deployed military members, it supporting the U. S. Department of Agriculture, helps provide fresh fruits and vegetables for some U. S. primary schools and eligible Indian reservations. DLA Land and Maritime, headquartered in Columbus, provide parts and maintenance for military ground vehicles and some ships. DLA operates three full-time organizations embedded with three unified combatant commands of the U.
S. military: DLA CENTCOM & SOCOM, DLA Europe & Africa, DLA Pacific. The seeds of the Defense Logistics Agency were planted in World War II, when America's military needed to get vast amounts of munitions and supplies quickly. During the war, the military services began to coordinate more when it came to procurement of petroleum products, medical supplies and other commodities; the main offices of the Army and Navy for each commodity were collocated. After the war, the call grew louder for more complete coordination throughout the whole field of supply—including storage, distribution and other aspects of supply. In 1947, there were seven supply systems in the Army, plus an Air Technical Service Command, 18 systems in the Navy, including the quartermaster of the Marine Corps. Passage of the National Security Act of 1947 prompted new efforts to eliminate duplication and overlap among the services in the supply area and laid the foundation for the eventual creation of a single integrated supply agency.
The act created the Munitions Board, which began to reorganize these major supply categories into joint procurement agencies. Meanwhile, in 1949, the Commission on the Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, a presidential commission headed by former President Herbert Hoover, recommended that the National Security Act be amended so as to strengthen the authority of the Secretary of Defense so that he could integrate the organization and procedures of the various phases of supply in the military services; the Munitions Board was not as successful as hoped in eliminating duplication among the services in the supply area. Congress became disenchanted with the board, in the Defense Cataloging and Standardization Act of 1952, transferred the board's functions to a new Defense Supply Management Agency; the Eisenhower Reorganization Plan Number 6 abolished both this agency and the Munitions Board, replacing them with a single executive, an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Supply and Logistics.
Meanwhile, the Korean War led to several investigations by Congress of military supply management, which threatened to impose a common supply service on the military services from the outside. Integrated management of supplies and services began in 1952 with the establishment of a joint Army-Navy-Air Force Support Center to control identification of supply items. For the first time, all the military services bought and issued items using a common nomenclature; the Defense Department and the services defined the material that would be managed on an integrated basis as "consumables", meaning supplies that are not repairable or are consumed in normal use. Consumable items called commodities were assigned to one military service to manage for all the services; the pressure for consolidation continued. In July 1955, the second Hoover Commission recommended centralizing management of common military logistics support and introducing uniform financial management practices, it recommended that a separate and civilian-managed agency be created with the Defense Department to administer all military common supply and service activities.
The military services feared that such an agency would be less responsive to military requirements and jeopardize the success of military operations. Congress, remained concerned about the Hoover Commission's indictment of waste and inefficiencies in the military services. To avoid having Congress take the matter away from the military DoD reversed its position; the solution proposed and approved by the Secretary of Defense was to appoint "single managers" for a selected group of common supply and servic
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is a military award of the United States Armed Forces, first created in 1961 by Executive Order of President John Kennedy. The medal is awarded to members of the U. S. Armed Forces who, after July 1, 1958, participated in U. S. military operations, U. S. operations in direct support of the United Nations, or U. S. operations of assistance for friendly foreign nations. The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is issued as 1-1/4 inches in diameter; the obverse side of the medal consists of an eagle, with wings addorsed and inverted, standing on a sword loosened in its scabbard, super- imposed on a radiant compass rose of eight points, all within the circumscription "ARMED FORCES" above and "EXPEDITIONARY SERVICE" below with a sprig of laurel on each side. On the reverse side of the medal is the shield from the United States Coat of Arms above two laurel branches separated by a bullet, all within the circumscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA"; the ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 3/32 inch Green.
Ribbon devicesA bronze service star is authorized for participation in subsequent U. S. Military operations authorized for award of the AFEM. A silver service star is worn in lieu of five bronze service stars; the Arrowhead device is authorized for United States Army and United States Air Force personnel who are awarded the medal through participation in an airborne or amphibious assault. The Fleet Marine Force Combat Operation Insignia is authorized for U. S. Navy service members assigned to Marine Corps units that participate in combat during the assignment; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal may be authorized for three categories of operations: U. S. military operations. S. military operations in direct support of the United Nations. S. operations of assistance for friendly foreign nations. The medal shall be awarded only for operations for which no other U. S. campaign medal is approved, where a foreign armed opposition or imminent threat of hostile action was encountered. Since its original conception in 1961, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal has been awarded for United States participation in over forty five designated military campaigns.
The first campaign of the AFEM was the Cuban Missile Crisis and the award was issued for military service between October 1962 and June 1963. Following this original issuance, the AFEM was made retroactive to 1958 and issued for actions in Lebanon, Republic of the Congo and Matsu, for duty in Berlin between 1961 and 1963. During the early years of the Vietnam War, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was issued for initial operations in South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was intended to replace the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal and Navy Expeditionary Medal, but this never occurred and both services continue to award their service expeditionary medals and the AFEM, though not concurrently for the same action. In 1965, with the creation of the Vietnam Service Medal, the AFEM was discontinued for Vietnam War service; as the Vietnam Service Medal was retroactively authorized, those personnel who had received the AFEM were granted the option to exchange the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the Vietnam Service Medal.
In 1968, the AFEM was awarded for Naval operations in defense of the USS Pueblo, seized by North Korea, as well as for Korean Service, awarded for Thailand and Cambodia operations in 1973. Because of these awards during the Vietnam War period, some military personnel have been awarded both the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal & the Vietnam Service Medal; some military advisers involved in the 1973 Arab–Israeli War were awarded the medal for their involvement in the supply and training of the IDF on the use and deployment of anti-tank weapons. In 2003, with the creation of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the AFEM was discontinued for Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait. After 18 March 2003, some personnel became eligible for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, as well as the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. Only one medal may be awarded and individuals or units that deployed to the Gulf for Operation Southern Watch, immediately transitioned to Operation Iraqi Freedom, are not eligible for both medals.
Beginning in 1992 an effort was begun to phase out the AFEM in favor of campaign specific medals and the newly created Armed Forces Service Medal. The Armed Forces Service Medal was originally intended to be a replacement for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, however the two awards are considered separate awards with different award criteria; the primary difference between the two is that the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal is awarded for combat operations and combat support missions. After the close of the Vietnam War, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was issued for various military operations in Panama and Libya Operation El Dorado Canyon; the medal is authorized for several United Nations actions, such as peacekeeping efforts in Somalia. The medal is authorized for NATO peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Croatia; the AFEM has been issued for numerous operations in the Persian Gulf, most notably Operation Earnest Will, which began in 1987 and lasted until the eve of Operation Desert Shield.
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the Gulf of Aden. To the north lie the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, the Gulf of Suez; the Red Sea is a Global 200 ecoregion. The sea is underlain by the Red Sea Rift, part of the Great Rift Valley; the Red Sea has a surface area of 438,000 km2, is about 2250 km long and, at its widest point, 355 km wide. It has a maximum depth of 3,040 m in the central Suakin Trough, an average depth of 490 m. However, there are extensive shallow shelves, noted for their marine life and corals; the sea is the habitat of over 1,000 invertebrate species, 200 soft and hard corals. It is the world's northernmost tropical sea; the International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Red Sea as follows: On the North. The Southern limits of the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba. On the South. A line joining Husn Murad and Ras Siyyan. Red Sea is a direct translation of the Greek Erythra Thalassa, Latin Mare Rubrum, Arabic: البحر الأحمر, translit.
Al-Baḥr Al-Aḥmar, Somali Badda Cas and Tigrinya Qeyyiḥ bāḥrī. The name of the sea may signify the seasonal blooms of the red-coloured Trichodesmium erythraeum near the water's surface. A theory favoured by some modern scholars is that the name red is referring to the direction south, just as the Black Sea's name may refer to north; the basis of this theory is that some Asiatic languages used colour words to refer to the cardinal directions. Herodotus on one occasion uses Red Southern Sea interchangeably; the name in Hebrew Yam Suph (Hebrew: ים סוף, lit.'Sea of Reeds' is of biblical origin. The name in Coptic: ⲫⲓⲟⲙ `ⲛϩⲁϩ Phiom Enhah is connected to Egyptian root ḥḥ which refers to water and sea, it was known to western geographers as Mare Mecca, Sinus Arabicus. Some ancient geographers called the Red Sea the Arabian Gulf of Arabia; the association of the Red Sea with the biblical account of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea is ancient, was made explicit in the Septuagint translation of the Book of Exodus from Hebrew to Koine Greek in the third century B.
C. In that version, the Yam Suph is translated as Erythra Thalassa; the Red Sea is one of four seas named in English after common color terms — the others being the Black Sea, the White Sea and the Yellow Sea. The direct rendition of the Greek Erythra thalassa in Latin as Mare Erythraeum refers to the north-western part of the Indian Ocean, to a region on Mars; the earliest known exploration of the Red Sea was conducted by ancient Egyptians, as they attempted to establish commercial routes to Punt. One such expedition took place around 2500 BC, another around 1500 BC. Both involved long voyages down the Red Sea. Scholars argued whether these trips were possible; the biblical Book of Exodus tells the account of the Israelites' crossing of a body of water, which the Hebrew text calls Yam Suph. Yam Suph was traditionally identified as the Red Sea. Rabbi Saadia Gaon, in his Judeo-Arabic translation of the Pentateuch, identifies the crossing place of the Red Sea as Baḥar al-Qulzum, meaning the Gulf of Suez.
In the 6th century BC, Darius the Great of Persia sent reconnaissance missions to the Red Sea and extending navigation by locating many hazardous rocks and currents. A canal was built between the northern end of the Red Sea at Suez. In the late 4th century BC, Alexander the Great sent Greek naval expeditions down the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. Greek navigators continued to compile data on the Red Sea. Agatharchides collected information about the sea in the 2nd century BC; the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a Greek periplus written by an unknown author around the 1st century AD, contains a detailed description of the Red Sea's ports and sea routes. The Periplus describes how Hippalus first discovered the direct route from the Red Sea to India; the Red Sea was favored for Roman trade with India starting with the reign of Augustus, when the Roman Empire gained control over the Mediterranean and the northern Red Sea. The route grew in the volume of traffic under the Romans. From Indian ports goods from China were introduced to the Roman world.
Contact between Rome and China depended on the Red Sea, but the route was broken by the Aksumite Empire around the 3rd century AD. During the Middle Ages, the Red Sea was an important part of the spice trade route. In 1513, trying to secure that channel to Portugal, Afonso de Albuquerque laid siege to Aden but was forced to retreat, they cruised the Red Sea inside the Bab al-Mandab, as the first European fleet to have sailed these waters. In 1798, France ordered General Napoleon to take control of the Red Sea. Although he failed in his mission, the engineer Jean-Baptiste Lepère, wh