Military


US Forces Order of Battle

This is a "best available" listing of US forces deployed to the Central Command Area of Responsibility (AOR) for Southwest Asia and for US forces deployed to European Command's locations in Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria. It does not include forces deployed exclusively for operations in Central Asia though it may at times list units that are involved in both Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. This listing also does not account for US or Coalition forces involved in operations in the Horn of Africa.

The task of developing a comprehensive listing of US forces present in the area is particularly difficult as the number of units rotating in and out of Southwest Asia are substantial. The events of Sept. 11, 2001 and the Global War on Terrorism has made such an effort significantly more difficult as the military seeks to improve operational security (OPSEC) and to deceive potential enemies and the media as to the extent of American operations. The significant number of troops that have been mobilized or activated in the United States for unspecified duties, whether they be in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or in support of homeland security also complicates matters as it is not entirely clear which units are going where. This is further compounded by increasing reliance on the part of the Department of Defense on the mobilization of small-sized units to fill its manpower needs. These can range from individual companies, batteries, to even smaller-sized groups of troops rather the mobilization of entire battalion-sized units.

This being the case, mistakes, misidentifications, or ignorance regarding specific units being in the region, or not being in the region will occur.

Troop levels

Initial war plans for Iraq had an initial American invasion force of about 130,000 soldiers and Marines, which would drop quickly to as few as 30,000 to 50,000 by the end of 2003.

As of October 2005 80,000 of the Guard and Reserve forces were deployed in 40 nations. The largest portion was in Iraq, where Guard units accounted for eight of 15 Army combat brigades.

As of 01 March 2006 there were 133,000 US troops in Iraq, down from about 160,000 in December 2005 during parliamentary elections. The Pentagon cut Army combat brigades to 15 from 17. The 25th Infantry Division from Hawaii, along with seven other major military units are scheduled to deploy as part of the Summer 2006 troop rotation. The Pentagon hoped to reduce the US presence in Iraq to less than 100,000 by the end of 2006.

By March 2006 some 7,000 Schofield Barracks soldiers were preparing for deployment in August 2006. The soldiers deployed in April 2006 to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. The 25th Infantry Division would command Multinational Division North-Central operations in northern Iraq, with four to five brigades, one of which will be the 3rd Brigade Combat Team from Hawaii. At that time, more than 1,000 Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 were already on their way to Iraq.

On 15 March 2006 it was reported that a battalion of about 700 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division would deploy into Iraq from their base in Kuwait to provide extra security during the holiday of Ashura, which ended 20 March 20006. The unit is one of the three battalions that were originally were scheduled to deploy to Iraq but were held in Kuwait as a standby force. Nearly 4,100 soldiers in the 34th Brigade Combat Team left for Iraq in late March 2006. The soldiers were from Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska and New Jersey. The deployment included 2,600 from Minnesota's National Guard, the largest contingent from the state to see combat since World War II.

By June 2006 the US had 14 combat brigades in Iraq, and a total of 127,000 troops. According to a 25 June 2006 report in the New York Times, a draft plan calls for significant reductions in the American military presence in Iraq by the end of 2007. The initial drawdown would involve the First Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division and the Third Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division are scheduled to rotate out of Iraq in September 2006, and would not be replaced. By December 2006, the number of US combat brigades in Iraq could be as low as 10 to 12, seven to eight brigades by June 2007 and five or six brigades by December 2007. Combat brigades, which typically number about 3,500 troops, account for only a portion of 127,000 American troops in Iraq, and other support units would not draw down as quickly.

There were about 152,000 US troops in Iraq as of early October 2005. As of mid-November 2006, there were approximately 152,000 US troops deployed to Iraq.

On May 19, 2008, DoD announced additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, involving one division headquarters and seven brigade combat teams consisting of approximately 25,000 personnel. The deployment window for these units would begin in the fall and continue until the end of the year.Specific units receiving deployment orders include:

  • 25th Infantry Division Headquarters, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
  • 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
  • 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
  • 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
  • 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
  • 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
  • 172nd Infantry Brigade, Schweinfurt, Germany
  • 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas

On May 19, 2008, DoD also announced the alert of additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The announcement involved four brigades from the Army National Guard who would have a security force mission and be assigned tasks to assure freedom of movement and continuity of operations in the country. Those tasks would include base defense and route security in Iraq and Kuwait. Deployments will involve approximately 14,000 personnel who were to begin deploying in the spring of 2009. Specific decisions made by the secretary of defense include:

  • 72nd Brigade Combat Team, Texas National Guard
  • 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard
  • 256th Brigade Combat Team, Louisiana National Guard
  • 278th Brigade Combat Team, Tennessee National Guard

On October 19, 2007, DoD announced that the 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division would deploy in the summer of 2008 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Prior to its deployment, the brigade will be re-designated as 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division; while the existing 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, already deployed in Iraq, would re-deploy and be re-designated to become part of 1st Armored Division after its return to home station.

On April 9, 2007, DoD announced the alert of four National Guard brigade combat teams as additional replacement units for deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. There are approximately 13,000 personnel in these four brigades:

On April 2, 2007, the Department of Defense announced, additional major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

On January 11, 2007, the Department of Defense announced, as part of President Bush's new strategy for Iraq, the following force adjustments which would result building the capacity available to commanders to 20 brigade or regimental combat teams:

OIF-6 Rotation

    November 17, 2006 announcement:
  • 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters, Fort Stewart, Ga.
  • 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Ks.
  • 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wa.
  • 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.
  • 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C
  • 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy

In addition, the Department of Defense also alerted approximately 27,000 active duty and 10,000 reserve component troops in combat support and combat service support units smaller than brigade-size elements for deployment beginning in 2007.

OIF-5 Rotation

The Department of Defense announced on three separate occasions that approximately 138,000 soldiers would rotate into Iraq during mid and late 2006. As part of the OIF-5 rotation, the Department of Defense announced (on the following dates) that the following major units would deploy to Iraq:

    July 27, 2006 announcement:
  • 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
  • 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
  • Regimental Combat Team 2, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
  • Regimental Combat Team 6, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
  • 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia has been placed in a prepare-to-deploy status for possible deployment later this year.
  • The deployment of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team operating in Iraq was to be extended for up to 120 additional days. In August, 2006, the 172nd SBCT was moved into the Baghdad area.
    June 20, 2006 announcement:
  • III Corps Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas
  • II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
  • 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas
  • 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
  • 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
  • 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska
  • 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
    November 7, 2005 announcement:
  • Division Headquarters, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
  • 13th Corps Support Command, Fort Hood, Texas
  • 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard
  • 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany
  • 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash
  • 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
  • 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
  • 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
  • The 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kan., previously notified to prepare to deploy in early December, has been advised it will not deploy prior to Dec. 31, 2005.

On September 25, 2006, the Department of Defense announced that it had delayed the redeployment of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, based in Friedberg, Germany, for approximately 46 days. The unit was scheduled to redeploy in mid-January 2007, and would as a result begin that redeployment in late February 2007. This decision was taken to allow the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division to complete its one year dwell time and then deploy in January 2007. Additionally, it was announced that the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division would deploy 30 days earlier than originally scheduled and begin its deployment in late October 2006.

OIF-4 Rotation

The Department of Defense announced on four separate occasions the units that would rotate into Iraq during mid and late 2005. As part of the OIF-4 rotation, the Department of Defense announced (on the following dates) that the following major units would deploy to Iraq:

    December 14, 2004 announcement:
  • 48th Infantry Brigade (Separate), Georgia Army National Guard
  • 172d Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Ft. Wainwright, Alaska
  • 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Ft. Drum, N.Y.
  • 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault (division headquarters and 4 brigades), Ft. Campbell, Ky.
  • 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Ft. Riley, Kan.
  • 4th Infantry Division (division headquarters and 4 brigades), Ft. Hood, Texas

CENTCOM AOR

On August 3, 2006 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld testified that 133,000 US personnel were deployed in Iraq. At the same hearing, the number of troops in the Central Command AOR was officially estimated at 200,000 by General John Abizaid. As of August 22, 2006, over 17,000 coalition personnel from 23 nations were deployed in Iraq. Inside the Horn of Africa there were around 1,200 that dedicate or focus themselves on the Horn of Africa. In Afghanistan there were around 22,000.

The US Air Force's Expeditionary Air and Space Force (EAF) concept and organization sets a guideline for Air Force deployments to operational locations. The EAF is comprised of 10 Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEF) each with lead combat and support wings including on-call wings that could be deployed if required. While deployments for active duty units generally lasts roughly 90-days, Reserve and Guard units deploy typically for 30-60 days. In testimony before the House Armed Services committee on June 13, 2006, General D.W. Corley, USAF reported that "[i]n Iraq, the Air Force [had] flown over 237,000 sorties."

The Marine presence in Iraq is centered around the I Marine Expeditionary Force and the 1st Marine Division. One Marine Expeditionary Unit, the 15th MEU is deployed to Kuwait. One Marine Expeditionary Unit is also in the region, though it is currently supporting operations in Afghanistan [and are thus not included in this tally]. On June 30, 2005, General Michael W. Hagee, Commandant, USMC, testified that about 23,000 Marines were deployed in Iraq and would remain there into 2006. General Hagee also testified on the same day that 27,000 Marines were deployed in the Central Command AOR.

Army/Reserve Component Distribution
OIFActiveReserve
175%25%
261%39%
3 57-58% 42-43%
4 69% (November 2005) 31% (November 2005)
5 ? ?

Army National Guard/Reserve Troop Numbers
OIFNational GuardReserve
233,00020,000
3 37,000 17,000
4 30,000-35,000 13,000-14,000
5 ? ?




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