US Forces Order of Battle - 09 December
This is a "best available" order-of-battle of forces deployed in CENTCOM's part of Southwest Asia, as well as EUCOM forces in Turkey participating in Operation Northern Watch. Over time, the amount of publicly available information concerning aircraft types and specific units has diminished to the point that it is no longer possible to provide a high fidelity profile of current deployments. There are evidently significant gaps in unit identifications, as well as non-trivial uncertainties as to numbers of specific types of aircraft. The presence of significant numbers of civilian contractor personnel at various facilities in the region further complicates accounting for total personnel numbers.
Excluding forces deployed in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom, there are probably about 44,000 military personnel in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, including about 400 aircraft of all types. The number of troops deployed in the area fluctuates on a daily basis, and has averaged between 20,000 and 25,000 in recent years, with typically about 200 aircraft in the region. Forces in the region include a mix of special operations forces deployed in support of US Central Command operations. To enhance force protection throughout the region, additional military security personnel are also deployed.
Ground forces include a variety of units that are normally deployed in the region, which total about 3,700 troops. Forces in the region include a Patriot missile task force with two batteries deployed in Saudi Arabia and two in Kuwait. The Army Intrinsic Action / Desert Spring training exercises routinely deploy 1,500 to 5,000 troops for rotations of several months. As of late-September 2002 a brigade rotation was in progress having just begun, ultimately this will involve as many as 10,000 soldiers in Kuwait. In addition to the 3,700 soldiers normally in the region, this troop rotation, once completed, could bring the total Army presence to nearly 14,000 soldiers. However it is possible that the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division will return to the United States. As of late-October there were roughly 10,000 soldiers based in the region, with some 6,000 in Kuwait. On 24 September 2002 it was reported that the 82nd Airborne Division had been notified to be prepared to deploy to the Gulf within two weeks.
The EUCOM Area of Responsibility includes approximately 1,700 Air Force personnel at Incrilik AB Turkey, flying Operation Northern Watch patrols. Prior to Operation Enduring Freedom, approximately 6,200 Air Force personnel were normally stationed in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility. As many as 17,500 Air Force personnel may be currently stationed in the CENTCOM and EUCOM areas responsible for operations against Iraq, operating a total of about 280 aircraft of all types.
Naval units include a headquarters and shore-based units comprised of about 1,200 people at Manama in Bahrain. Nearly a thousand civilian mariners are associated with Military Sealift Command ships at Diego Garcia. During the 1990s overal Naval force personnel levels in the CENTCOM AOR typically varied between 8,000 and 15,000. Each Carrier Battlegroup, with its associated Carrier Air Wing, has approximately 11,000 sailors embarked. Each Amphibious Group has about 1,700 sailors, 1,500 Marines, and 700 Marine aviators embarked. As of late-November 2002 there was one carrier battle group in the area, and one amphibious group, for a total of slightly less than 20,000 naval personnel. These units included about 128 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. A total of about 400 Vertical Launch System cells are available for Tomahawk cruise missiles, which is roughly twice the average number typically deployed in recent years. Based on estimates of prior deployments, perhaps as many as 150 Tomahawks are actually deployed. The cruise missile force can be augmented significantly within days.
Currently, there are about 370 combatant and direct support aircraft in the Iraq [CENTCOM and EUCOM] Area of Responsibility, which total includes air to air, air to ground, dual role, direct support, and attack helicopters.
A significant portion of the equipment afloat at Diego Garcia appears to still be at anchor. Ikonos Browse imagery taken in early and mid-November 2002 confirm that a major portion of those ships have not departed for the Persian Gulf region to offload their equipment.
According to American Spaceframe Fabricators, the contractor that designed and constructed the B-2 Shelter System, two shelters have been constructed and two additional structures will not be completed until June 2003.
The 175th Fighter Squadron deployed from Sioux Falls to Incirlik on December 3, 2002. The unit is replacing the 124th Fighter Squadron which returned to the United States on December 5. The deployment is to last roughly 30 days.
The 194th Fighter Squadron deployed on December 3, 2002. It's believed to be heading for Southwest Asia though it is not clear where it will be located.
The 23rd Bomb Squadron was identified as having been at Diego Garcia since late September 2002. It is not clear whether the 40th Bomb Squadron is still located at Diego Garcia.
Relatedly, for some time now the issue of whether or not B-1Bs are currently deployed has not been answered with any real satisfaction. However, nearly all the units that were previously thought to be deployed have been confirmed to have returned to the United States some time ago. The only exception would appear to be an element of the 28th Bomb Wing, either the 34th or 37th Bomb Squadron.
The USS Harry S Truman and her battle group departed for MED Deployment 03-1 on December 5, 2002. The Truman is accompanied by Carrier Air Wing 3, CG 56 San Jacinto, DDG 57 Mitscher, DDG 75 Donald Cook, DDG 79 Oscar Austin, DD 977 Briscoe, DD 989 Deyo, FFG 53 Hawes, SSN 720 Pittsburgh, SSN 765 Montpelier, T AO 196 Kanawha and T AE 34 Mount Baker.
Desert Spring appears to be nearly complete. The 4-64 Armored Regiment arrived in Kuwait on November 27, 2002. This was the last combat element of the 2nd Brigade. The 3rd Brigade is believed to be nearly finished with their rotation home, and is thus being removed from the list.
The USS Mount Whitney and elements of 2nd Marine Division are currently in the Mediterranean and are expected to transit the Suez shortly.
Finally, the 128th Bomb Squadron which has previously been listed as being at Thumrait, Oman has been deleted from the Order of Battle listing for this week and all prior editions. The unit and its parent unit, the 116th Bomb Wing, disbanded on October 1, 2002 and were merged into the 116th Air Control Wing, an E-8C Joint Stars unit. According to the Public Affairs Office of the 116th ACW, none of the B-1B assigned to the 116th Bomb Wing took part in Enduring Freedom. The Office also indicated that 128th BS pilots had also not flown in support of OEF. To complicate the issue, the DoD continues to list the 116th Bomb Wing as being a unit that was called up in support of Enduring Freedom or Noble Eagle. This appears to be an oversight on DoD's part. Thanks to Colin Robinson at the Center for Defense Information for pointing out the mistake.
|Land Based Aircraft|
|Incirlik AB - Turkey|
|39th Air and Space Expeditionary Wing||~ 60||1,700|
|77th Fighter Sq||6 - F-16CJ|
|4th Fighter Sq||6- F-16CJ|
|175th Fighter Sq||? 6 - F-16CD|
|27th Fighter Sq||? 6 - F-15C|
|U/I Unit||? 6 - F-15E|
|U/I Unit||? 3 - MC-130|
|U/I Unit||? 3 - HH-60G|
|U/I Unit||? 3 - UH-60|
|900th Exp Air Refueling Sq||? 12 - KC-135|
|970th Air Control Sq||? 3 - E-3A|
|VAQ 209||? 2 - EA-6B|
|VAQ 133||? 2 - EA-6B|
|No. 41 Squadron [UK RAF]||6 - Jaguar|
|No. 10 Squadron [UK RAF]||? - VC10 C1K|
|Land Based Aircraft|
|Saudi Arabia - Eskan Village||1,500|
|9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force|
|Saudi Arabia - Prince Sultan Air Base [PSAB]||72||4,500|
|363rd Air Expeditionary Wing|
|335 Expeditionary Fighter Squadron||18 - F-15|
|336 Expeditionary Fighter Squadron||18 - F-16|
|186th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron
184th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron
|6 - F-16|
|363 Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Sq||6 - E-3 AWACS|
|729 Air Control Sq||2 - E-8 JSTARS|
|763 Expeditionary Reconnaissance Sq
12 Expeditionary Intelligence Sq
|4 - RC-135|
|363 Expeditionary Air Refueling Sq||12 - KC-135|
|363 Expeditionary Airlift Sq|
|4402d Reconnaissance Squadron (P)||2 - U-2|
|detachment, VMAQ 1||?3 - EA-6B|
|4404th MEDEVAC Company||6 - UH-60|
|No. 43 Squadron [UK RAF]||4 - Tornado F3|
|40th Air Expeditionary Wing||? 20||? 1,000|
|40th Bomb Squadron||? - B-52|
|23rd Bomb Squadron||? 8 - B-52|
|462nd Air Expeditionary Group||? 12 - KC-135R|
|Bahrain - Muharraq Airfield|
|VP-1 Screaming Eagles||? - P-3||? 50|
|No. 216 Squadron [UK RAF]||1 - L-1011 Tristar||? 50|
|Det. VQ-1 World Watchers||? - EP-3E ARIES II|
|Det. Two HC-2 Fleet Angels||? - UH-3H|
? - VH-3A
|Det. One HC-4 Black Stallions||? - MH-53E|
|Kuwait - Ali Al Salem Air Base|
|386th Air Expeditionary Group||1,500|
|71st Rescue Squadron||2 - HC-130P|
|No. 12 Squadron [UK RAF]||6 - Tornado GR4|
|15th Exp Recon Sq||? - RQ-1B|
|Kuwait - Al Jaber Air Base||77||1,200|
|332nd Air Expeditionary Group|
|332nd Expd Air Sprt Ops Sqdn|
|332nd Expd Intel Flt|
|U/I Fighter Squadron||12 - A-10|
|U/I Fighter Squadron||18 - F-15C|
|391st Fighter Squadron||10 - F-15E|
|510th Fighter Squadron||?8 - F-16CG/DG|
|VMFA 212 Lancers||12 - F/A-18|
|U/I Airlift Squadron||8 - C-130|
|332nd Expd Rescue Sqdn||2 - HH-60G|
|U/I element, 552nd Air Control Wing||7 - E-3 AWACS|
|Oman - Masirah Air Base||14||1,300|
|319th Air Expeditionary Group|
|U/I Unit||? 6 - KC-135R|
|U/I element, 911th Airlift Wing||? 8 - C-130|
|4th Special Operations Squadron||? 6 - AC-130U|
|8th Special Operations Squadron||? - MC-130E|
|Oman - Seeb International Airport||14||1,300|
|320th Air Expeditionary Wing||?|
|U/I Fighter Squadron||? -|
|U/I Airlift Squadron, 43rd Airlift Wing||? - C-130|
|Oman - Thumrait Air Base|
|405th Air Expeditionary Wing||? 10||? 1,000|
|U/I element, 28th Bomb Wing||? - B-1B|
|U/I Unit||? - E-3|
|U/I element, 55th Wing||? - RC-135|
|No. 201 Squadron||? - Nimrod MR2|
|No. 206 Squadron||? - Nimrod MR2|
|Qatar - Al Udeid Air Base||12||3,500|
|379th Air Expeditionary Wing|
|44th Expeditionary Air Refueling Sqdn||? 4 - KC-10|
|340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Sqdn||? 2 - KC-135R|
|911th Air Refueling Sqdn||~ 2 - KC-135R|
|U/I Unit, 434th Refueling Wing||? 2 - KC-135R|
|U/I element, 93rd Air Control Wing||? 2 - E-8 JSTARS|
|detachment, VMAQ 1||?3 - EA-6B|
|UAE - AL Dhafra Air Base|
|380th Air Expeditionary Wing||7||? 500|
|U/I element, 9th Reconnaissance Wing||? 2 - U-2|
|12th Recon Sqdn, 9th Recon Wing||? 1 - RQ-4|
|763 Expeditionary Air Refueling Sq||? 4 - KC-10|
|908 Expeditionary Air Refueling Sq||? 4 - KC-10|
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|