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Operation Enduring Freedom - Deployments

For Operation Enduring Freedom at least one thousand troops from the 10th Mountain Division, and possibly as many as twice this number, were deployed to Uzbekistan, though it was unclear what type of troops were deployed. Futhermore, attack helicopters used in joint NATO-Uzbek military excercises that took place in early September 2001 were reported to still have been in Uzbekistan. It was unclear exactly how many particpated in the excercises or how many were still in Uzbekistan. The Army forces initially involved in Operation Enduring Freedom also included an unspecified number of Rangers and other special forces, including possibly Special Operations Detachment Delta.

The Bright Star exercise was a multi-national exercise involving more than 74,000 troops from 44 countries, which took place in Egypt from 8 October 2001 to 2 November 2001. Scheduled every 2 years, the exercises, which were co-organized by Egypt and the US, aimed to enhance regional stability and mil-to-mil cooperation among the US, key allies, and regional partners. It prepared US Central Command to rapidly deploy and employ the armed forces to deter aggressors and, if necessary, fight and win side-by-side with its allies and regional partners.

By the end of November 2001 several hundred soldiers from the Army's 101st Airborne Division had deployed for base security at the three air bases in Pakistan used by US forces. The Marines that had been providing base security had been recalled to their ships in the Arabian Sea and then redeployed to southern Afghanistan.

By early December 2001 about 1,300 Marines from the 15th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units were deployed at Camp Rhino near Kandahar, along with an undisclosed number Army Special Operations troops, US Navy SEALs, Navy Seabee construction teams, and Australian special operations soldiers. By mid-January 2002 these forces had re-deployed to Kandahar Airport. The last 100 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit left Kandahar airfield on 5 February 2002. The military presence at the airfield at Task Force Rakkasan numbered 3,600, which included 1,600 soldiers from the 101st Airborne and 200 Canadian troops who began arriving 4 February 2002. The US Army also transferred command of its ground forces in Afghanistan to Kuwait in December 2001. Lieutenant General Paul Mikolashek, commander of Third Army, transferred to Kuwait from Atlanta, Georgia to direct the ground operations.

On 6 March 2002 commanders ordered 16 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the fighting in the Gardez area from from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

As of mid-March 2002 2 10th Mountain Division battalions, the 1/87th Infantry and 4/31st Infantry, were slated to return to Fort Drum, New York, by mid-April. They would be replaced by more troops from the Army's 101st Airborne Division.

By the end of March 2002 the Army's 5th Special Forces Group, which conducted the bulk of ground combat in Afghanistan, had turned over in-theater duties to the 3rd Special Forces Group, with most of the 5th Group troops having returned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

About 250 US troops were deployed to the Philippines betewen October 2001 and January 2002 as part of the effort against the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group. By February 2002 the number of troops deployed there was planned to increase to 650, including 150 special forces troops, for a six-month training exercise. The remaining US troops would provide logistical support, partly from the former Clark Air Base north of Manila.

As of late March 2002 the United States and United Kingdom were about to begin three months of military exercises with Yemen. The maneuvers would take place in the remote Hadramaut region of southeastern Yemen, near areas where al-Qaeda combatants were suspected to have taken refuge. The United States had a 20-member team in the country to coordinate US military assistance and training as of mid-March, with another 30 American military instructors slated to arrive at the end of March.




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