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US Forces Order of Battle - 16 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. Even prior to September 11, 2001, 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 50,000 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 early-December 2002 a brigade rotation was virtually complete. Nearly all of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division had returned to the United States, though comments made by 3rd Division officials to the press have made it clear that the 3rd BDE could redeploy to the region if so ordered. It is believed that the total Army presence in the region is nearly 10,000 soldiers.

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. Deployments for active duty units lasts roughly 90-days while Reserve and Guard units deploy typically for 30 - 60 days. Generally one AEF is assigned to Operation Southern Watch and one is assigned to Northern Watch. AEF 7 and AEF 8 units deployed beginning in late November and will remain until the end of February 2003.

The EUCOM Area of Responsibility includes approximately 1,700 Air Force personnel at Incrilik AB Turkey, flying Operation Northern Watch patrols (Though there are roughly 4,000 people at Incirlik in general). 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 around 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.

Note: While this listing is dated, one should keep in mind that the page is often edited numerous times during a particular edition, sometimes daily. One should visit the page often to get the most up-to-date listing of affairs.

Recent Developments

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 portion of those ships have not departed for the Persian Gulf region to offload their equipment. Contrary to a recent Reuters article citing this organization as stating that all of the preposition ships are still at Diego Garcia, or estimation is that there is a significant number of ships present, but that without complete coverage of all of the anchorages, and with reports such as the one listed below it is not accurate to say that all of the Prepo is still present.

The New York Times reported on December 8, 2002 that one of the brigade sets at Diego Garcia has begun to be moved to Kuwait to be unloaded. According to the story, the USNS Watkins had unloaded material in Kuwait in July and that the USNS Watson was currently enroute.

According to American Spaceframe Fabricators, the contractor that designed and constructed the B-2 Shelter System, and subsequently confirmed by satellite imagery acquired by ImageSat on November 26, 2002, two shelters have been constructed at Diego Garcia but two additional structures will not be completed until June 2003. Because of this development, an element of the 509th Bomb Wing has been added to the list of units present at Diego Garcia.

There have been some significant changes to the listings of Air Force units deployed to CENTCOM locations, as AEF 7 took over operational duties on December 1. As force size at these individual bases do not change often it is safe to assume that the same number and types of aircraft are still located at particular locations though it is not clear what units are there. Units from AEF 8 are at Incirlik and have been added to the list.

On December 9, 2002 the USS George Washington and her battle group was in the Atlantic cruising for home. It is scheduled to arrive in Norfolk on December 20, 2002. This is a major development as there has been speculation for some time that the George Washington may remain in the Med for an extended period of time. Press reports in recent days seem to indicate that the George Washington will not standdown following its arrival in Norfolk, but will be available for redeployment up to two weeks.

The USS Constellation and her battle group transited the Malacca Straits on or about December 7 following a departure from Singapore. She is currently in the Indian Ocean steaming for the Persian Gulf region which she could reach by December 14, 2002.

The Kitty Hawk Battle Group returned to its port at Yokosuka on December 13, 2002. This would remove her as a potential participant in a war against Iraq for at least 3 weeks.

The USS Mount Whitney transited the Suez Canal on December 8, 2002 and should be nearing Djibouti if it has not already arrived. The USS Mount Whitney was last reported to be at the port of Said in Egypt on December 7, 2002. Since she and 2nd MARDIV are in the CENTCOM AOR they have been added to the listing.

Relatedly, the 87th Corps Support BN has been identified as being located at Djibouti, assisting in the renovation of Camp Le Monier though the unit is believed to be leaving Djibouti soon and handing over command to 2nd Marine Division.

It is believed that the 335th Fighter Squadron is no longer at Prince Sultan Air Base and that its rotation has been completed for some time. However, the 44th Fighter Squadron has been identified as being deployed to Prince Sultan. Their rotation had ended recently.

The 19th Support Center, from Wiesbaden, Germany has been identified as being located in Kuwait. An article in the Agence France Press from December 11 indicates that the unit deployed some time ago and that elements of it will be returning to Germany in mid December. The unit is believed to be supporting the two Apache Squadrons that deployed to Kuwait from Germany.

CENTCOM Southwest Asia - Army Forces

TOTAL? 10,000
Bahrain - Manama250
SOCCENT-FWD (exercise Iris Gold)250
Bahrain - Mina Sulman11
Det. 831st Transportation Bn11
Djibouti - Camp Le Monier~800
Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa
element 87th Corps Support BN
element 5th Special Forces Group~800
Kuwait - Camp Doha~2,700
Army Central Command700
201st Military Intelligence BN
385th Sig. Co, 54 Signal Bn125
Det. 831st Transportation Bn2
Combat Equipment Bn-Kuwait ? 25
2x1 Brigade Set [(APS-5) 1 of 4]- 0 -116 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV
Kuwait - Camp Arifjan25
Combat Equipment Bn-Kuwait ? 25
2x1 Brigade Set [(APS-5) 2 of 4]- 0 -116 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV
Kuwait - The Kabals? 6,000
7th Squadron, 6th Cavalry ? - AH-64D
? UH-60L
elements of I Marine Expeditionary Force (ex Internal Look)
elements of V-Corps (ex Internal Look) ~ 1,500
Command element, V-Corps450
6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry ? - AH-64D
2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry 450?4 - AH-64D
?4 UH-60
E Company, 51st Infantry Rgt
element of 1 UK Armoured Division
2nd BDE, 3rd Infantry Div (ex Desert Spring) 2x1 Brigade Set [(APS-5) 3 of 4] 5,000116 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV
3rd BN, 15th Infantry Rgt (ex Desert Spring)
1st BN, 64th Armor Rgt (ex Desert Spring)
4th BN, 64th Armor Rgt (ex Desert Spring)
E Trp, 9th Cavalry Rgt (ex Desert Spring)
1st BN, 9th Field Artillery Rgt (ex Desert Spring)
26th FWD Support BN (ex Desert Spring)
10th Engineer BN (ex Desert Spring)
U/I element of 123rd Signal BN (ex Desert Spring)
Kuwait - Ahmed Al Jaber AB85
Patriot Task Force Battery8532 - Patriot
Kuwait - Ali Al Salem AB85
Patriot Task Force Battery8532 - Patriot
Qatar - Al Karana15
Combat Equipment Bn15
Division Set [(APS-5)]- 0 -
Qatar - Camp As Sayliyah1,015
Combat Equipment Battalion-Qatar15
2x1 Brigade Set [(APS-5) 4 of 4]- 0 -116 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV
Qatar - Camp Snoopy20
Army Material Command - FWD SWA10
Combat Equipment Battalion-Qatar10
Qatar - Umm Said2
Det. 831st Transportation Bn2
Saudi Arabia - Dhahran AB200
Patriot Task Force Battery8532 - Patriot
550th Sig. Co, 54 Signal Bn125
Det. 831st Transportation Bn3
Saudi Arabia - Eskan Village300
Patriot Task Force170
Headquarters, 54th Signal Bn125
Saudi Arabia - Riyadh Airfield85
Patriot Task Force Battery8532 - Patriot
Turkey - Incirlik AB
Diego Garcia
2x2 Brigade Set [(APS-3) / [APSRON 4]- 0 -116 M1 MBT
116 M2 BFV
1x1 Brigade Set [(APS-3) / [APSRON 4] - 0 -58 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV


Location Unit Squadron Aircraft Personnel
TOTAL~ 604,000
Land Based Aircraft
Incirlik AB - Turkey
39th Air and Space Expeditionary Wing~ 604,000
55th Fighter Sq (AEF 8)6 - F-16CJ
4th Fighter Sq 6- F-16CJ
175th Fighter Sq (AEF 8) ? 6 - F-16CD
94th Fighter Sq (AEF 8) ? 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


Location Unit Squadron Aircraft Personnel
TOTAL220? 16,000
Land Based Aircraft
Saudi Arabia - Eskan Village 1,500
9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force
Saudi Arabia - Prince Sultan Air Base [PSAB]724,500
363rd Air Expeditionary Wing
67th Fighter Squadron (AEF 7) 18 - F-15
390th Fighter Squadron (AEF 7) ? - F-15
524th Fighter Sq (AEF 7) 18 - F-16
U/I Fighter Squadron 6 - F-16
363 Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Sq 6 - E-3 AWACS
U/I Air Control Sq 2 - E-8 JSTARS
38th Reconnaissance Sq (AEF 7) 4 - RC-135
92nd Air Refueling Sq (AEF 7) 12 - KC-135
U/I Airlift Sq
99th Reconnaissance Sq (AEF 7) 2 - U-2
detachment, VMAQ 1 ?3 - EA-6B
U/I MEDEVAC Company 6 - UH-60
No. 43 Squadron [UK RAF] 4 - Tornado F3
Diego Garcia
40th Air Expeditionary Wing? 20? 1,000
U/I element of 509th Bomb Wing ? 2 - B-2
40th Bomb Squadron ? - B-52
20th Bomb Squadron (AEF 7) ? 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 Group1,500
41st Electronic Combat Sq (AEF 7) ? - EC-130H
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 771,200
332nd Air Expeditionary Group
332nd Expd Air Sprt Ops Sqdn
332nd Expd Intel Flt
172nd Fighter Sq (AEF 7)12 - A-10
U/I Fighter Squadron18 - F-15C
391st Fighter Squadron10 - F-15E
510th Fighter Squadron?8 - F-16CG/DG
VMFA 212 Lancers12 - F/A-18
U/I Airlift Squadron8 - C-130
332nd Expd Rescue Sqdn2 - HH-60G
U/I element, 552nd Air Control Wing 7 - E-3 AWACS
Oman - Masirah Air Base 141,300
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 141,300
320th Air Expeditionary Wing?
U/I Fighter Squadron? -
189th Airlift Sq (AEF 7)? - C-130
Oman - Thumrait Air Base
405th Air Expeditionary Wing? 10? 1,000
405th Expeditionary Bomb Sq [Composite] ? - B-1B
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 123,500
379th Air Expeditionary Wing
U/I unit ? - F-15
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

CENTCOM Southwest Asia - Naval Forces

Location Unit Squadron Aircraft Personnel
Bahrain - Manama 1,200
Naval Forces Central Command / Fifth Fleet
Destroyer Squadron 50
Combined Task Force 53 CTF-53
U/I Port Security Unit
Oman - Masirah AB
Combined Task Force 57 CTF-572 - P-3C? 100
Afloat Marines
24th Marine Expeditionary Unit [24 MEU]1,5004 M1A1
Headquarters Bn, 2nd Marine Division400
Afloat Naval Aviation
Location Unit Squadron Aircraft Personnel
CVN 72 Abraham Lincoln
Carrier Air Wing 14 702,500
VF-31 Tomcatters 10 - F-14D
VFA-25 Fist of the Fleet 12 - F/A-18
VFA-113 Stingers12 - F/A-18C
VFA-115 Rampagers12 - F/A-18E/F
VAW-113 Black Eagles4 - E-2C
VAQ-139 Cougars4 - EA-6B
VS-35 Blue Wolves8 - S-3B
VRC-30 Providers Det2 - C-2A
HS-4 Black Knight6 - SH-60F
LHA 4 Nassau
HMM-263 Thunder Chickens 12 - CH-46
4 - CH-53E
3 - UH-1N
4 - AH-1W
6 - AV-8
Afloat Warships
Group Ship Class Crew VLS Cells
TOTAL+ 10,500405
Abraham Lincoln Battle Group5,963405
CVN 72 Abraham LincolnCVN 683100-0-
CG 53 Mobile BayCG 47 364127
CG 67 ShilohCG 47 364127
DDG 60 Paul HamiltonDDG 51 32390
DD 992 FletcherDD 968 38261
FFG 37 CrommelinFFG 7 300-0-
FFG 57 Reuben JamesFFG 7 300-0-
AOE 2 CamdenAOE 1 700-0-
SSN 718 HonoluluSSN 688 130-0-
LHA 4 Nassau Amphibious Ready Group1,684
LHA 4 NassauLHA 1 964-0-
LPD 4 AustinLPD 4 420-0-
LSD 46 TortugaLSD 41 400-0-
Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa-0-
LCC 20 Mount WhitneyLCC 19 842-0-
Mine Countermeasures Division 31270
MCM 12 ArdentMCM 1 85-0-
MCM 13 DextrousMCM 1 85-0-
MHC 60 CardinalMHC 51 50-0-
MHC 61 RavenMHC 51 50-0-
UK Operation Oracle237
F 85 CumberlandType 22 237-0-
UK Armilla Patrol365
F 231 ArgyllType 23 169-0-
M109 BangorMCMV Sandown Class 34-0-
M111 BlythMCMV Sandown Class 34-0-
M101 SandownMCMV Sandown Class 34-0-
M33 BrocklesbyMCMV Hunt Class 45-0-
L3004 Sir Bedivere 49-0-
Afloat at Diego Garcia
Maritime Prepositioning Squadron 2~ 450
Maritime Prepositioning Force
T-AK 3000 MV Cpl. Louis J. Hauge Jr.25-0-
T-AK 3001 MV Pfc. William B. Baugh25-0-
T-AK 3002 MV Pfc. James Anderson Jr.25-0-
T-AK 3003 MV 1st Lt. Alex Bonnyman25-0-
T-AK 3004 MV Pvt. Franklin J. Phillips 25-0-
T-AK 3017 USNS Gysgt Fred W. Stockham 26-0-
Combat Prepositioning Force
T-AK 2062 MV American Cormorant? 25-0-
T-AK 4496 MV LTC John U.D. Page22-0-
T-AK 4544 Sgt. Edward A. Carter, Jr.22-0-
Logistics Prepositioning Force
T-AK 4638 Pitsenbarger23-0-
T-AK 4396 MV Bernard F. Fisher? 25-0-
T-AK 9655 MV Green Ridge? 25-0-
T-AOT 5084 Chesapeake? 75-0-
T-AO 187 USNS Henry J. Kaiser82-0-
Afloat Prepositioning Ship Squadron FOUR424
T-AFS 9 Spica 170-0-
T-AKR 295 Shughart 26-0-
T-AKR 296 Gordon 26-0-
T-AKR 297 Yano 26-0-
T-AKR 298 Gilliland 26-0-
T-AKR 310 Watson 26-0-
T-AKR 315 Watkins 26-0-
T-AO 193 Diehl 124-0-
T-ATF 168 Catawba 20-0-

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