US Forces Order of Battle - 30 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 52,000 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 overall 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 mid-to-late December 2002 there was one carrier battle group in the area, and one amphibious group, for a total of around 14,000 naval personnel. These units included about 128 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. A total of about 446 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

The Orlando Sentinel reported on December 21, 2002 that 50 individuals of the 143rd Transportation Command were activated and given orders to deploy to Kuwait. The 143d TRANSCOM, Army Reserve, mobilizes and deploys to establish the theater level transportation systems. It establishes aerial and sea ports of debarkation and inland motor and rail operations. 143rd TRANSCOM is the EAC Transportation operator. All rail, coastal & inland waterway systems, and highway operations will be operated by subordinate units of this Command. As the unit is WARTRACED to both Major Theater Wars its deployment is a critical prerequisite for any war with Iraq. The story goes on to indicate that the rest of the 200-plus unit will deploy as war becomes more likely.

1,000 soldiers from the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade have deployed to Israel recently. This deployment is part of Operation Shining Presence a Joint Exercise involving United States and Israeli forces. This is not, however, a routine deployment as US forces are scheduled to remain in the area following the conclusion of the exercise.

Two infantry battalions from the 53rd Infantry Brigade (Florida National Guard) have been activated and will be sent to Fort Stewart for training. It is unclear whether or not these units, the 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment and the 3rd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment will be sent to the Middle East, Afghanistan or Homeland Security but it is an aligned unit of the 24th Infantry Division, which is associated with the XVIII Airborne Corps.

The Abraham Lincoln Battle Group arrived in Fremantle, Australia on December 22, 2002. She is expected to remain in Fremantle until December 26. at which point she will continue to transit back to her home port of Everett.

The George Washington and most of her Battle Group returned to Norfolk on December 20, 2002. This marked the end of her Med Deployment, but Navy officials have made it clear that she will remain on call for a short period of time so if needed, she could redeploy back to the Persian Gulf region. Relatedly, an Associated Press story dated December 27, 2002 also indicated that the USS George Washington had been given orders to be ready to deploy within 96 hours after a certain date that has not be disclosed.

The Harry S Truman Battle Group made a port call at Marseille, France on December 23 and is expected to remain there until shortly after Dec 25.

The Associated Press reported on December 27, 2002 that the USNS Comfort had recieved orders to depart for Diego Garcia as early as December 30, 2002. One of the obvious prerequisites for a war with Iraq has been the the need to have a hospital ship nearby to receive casualties.

The USNS Pilalaau (TAKR 304) was loading equipment in Beaumont, Texas on 19 December 2002, probably associated with the 1st Cavalry Division and the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized). The USNS Yano (TAKR 297) was loading 3rd Infantry Division equipment on or about December 20 at Charleston, SC. The Pililaau left Beaumont, Texas, on 23 December 2002 loaded with combat support equipment, including trucks and Humvees, that filled almost 200,000 square feet of cargo space. The Yano sailed from Charleston, SC, at noon on 24 December 2002, carrying a Black Hawk helicopter and three OH-58 combat helicopters in its holds. Though the fastest route to their destinations would take the ships through the Suez Canal, the Yano and the Pililaau were under orders to take a slower route around Africa's Cape of Good Hope. The voyage to the Gulf region was expected to take 21 to 25 days.

The 457th Fighter Squadron was identified as being located at Prince Sultan Air Base in support of Southern Watch. It is unclear when the unit arrived in the area as it does not appear to be part of AEF 7.

Southwest Asia - Army Forces

Location Unit Troops Equipment
TOTAL ? 10,000
Bahrain - Manama 250
SOCCENT-FWD (exercise Iris Gold) 250
Bahrain - Mina Sulman 11
Det. 831st Transportation Bn 11
Djibouti - Camp Le Monier ~800
Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa
element 87th Corps Support BN
element 5th Special Forces Group ~800
Israel - U/I Location ~1000
69th Air Defense Artillery BDE (Shining Presence)
U/I Air Defense Artillery BN (Shining Presence) 500 ? - Patriot
U/I Signal Unit
Kuwait - Camp Doha ~2,700
Army Central Command 700
ARCENT (FWD) 1,850
201st Military Intelligence BN
385th Sig. Co, 54 Signal Bn 125
Det. 831st Transportation Bn 2
Combat Equipment Bn-Kuwait ? 25
2x1 Brigade Set [(APS-5) 1 of 4] - 0 - 116 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV
element of 2x2 Brigade Set [(APS-3) / [APSRON 4] - 0 - 116 M1 MBT
116 M2 BFV
element of 1x1 Brigade Set [(APS-3) / [APSRON 4] - 0 - 58 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV
Kuwait - Camp Arifjan 25
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
element of 3rd BN, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Rgt 32 - Patriot
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-Corps 450
6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry 21 - AH-64D
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] 5,000 116 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 AB 85
Patriot Task Force Battery 85 32 - Patriot
Kuwait - Ali Al Salem AB 85
Patriot Task Force Battery 85 32 - Patriot
2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry 450 21 - AH-64D
?4 UH-60
Qatar - Al Karana 15
Combat Equipment Bn 15
Division Set [(APS-5)] - 0 -
Qatar - Camp As Sayliyah 1,015
Combat Equipment Battalion-Qatar 15
2x1 Brigade Set [(APS-5) 4 of 4] - 0 - 116 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV
element of 1st Space Bn JTAG
Qatar - Camp Snoopy 20
Army Material Command - FWD SWA 10
Combat Equipment Battalion-Qatar 10
Qatar - Umm Said 2
Det. 831st Transportation Bn 2
Saudi Arabia - Dhahran AB 200
Patriot Task Force Battery 85 32 - Patriot
550th Sig. Co, 54 Signal Bn 125
Det. 831st Transportation Bn 3
Saudi Arabia - Eskan Village 300
Patriot Task Force 170
Headquarters, 54th Signal Bn 125
Saudi Arabia - Riyadh Airfield 85
Patriot Task Force Battery 85 32 - Patriot
Turkey - Incirlik AB
Diego Garcia
element of 2x2 Brigade Set [(APS-3) / [APSRON 4] - 0 - 116 M1 MBT
116 M2 BFV
element of 1x1 Brigade Set [(APS-3) / [APSRON 4] - 0 - 58 M1 MBT
58 M2 BFV


Location Unit Squadron Aircraft Personnel
TOTAL ~ 60 4,000
Land Based Aircraft
Incirlik AB - Turkey
39th Air and Space Expeditionary Wing ~ 60 4,000
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
TOTAL 220 ? 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] 72 4,500
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
457th Fighter Sq 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
U/I Unit 3 - UC-12M
Kuwait - Ali Al Salem Air Base
386th Air Expeditionary Group 1,500
41st Electronic Combat Sq (AEF 7) ? - EC-130H
71st Rescue Squadron 2 - HC-130P
No. 12 Squadron [UK RAF] 6 - Tornado GR4
U/I Unit ? - RC-12
U/I Unit ? - RQ-1B
Kuwait - Al Jaber Air Base 77 1,200
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 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
355th 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 ? -
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 12 3,500
379th Air Expeditionary Wing
U/I unit ? - F-15
379th Expeditionary Air Refueling Sqdn ? 4 - KC-10
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
TOTAL 1,500
Bahrain - Manama 1,200
Naval Forces Central Command / Fifth Fleet
Destroyer Squadron 50
Combined Task Force 53 CTF-53
Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Detachment
U/I Port Security Unit
Oman - Masirah AB
Combined Task Force 57 CTF-57 2 - P-3C ? 100
Afloat Marines
Location Unit Troops Equipment
TOTAL 1,900
24th Marine Expeditionary Unit [24 MEU] 1,500 4 M1A1
Headquarters Bn, 2nd Marine Division 400
Afloat Naval Aviation
Location Unit Squadron Aircraft Personnel
TOTAL 128 5,200
CV 64 Constellation
Carrier Air Wing 2 70 2,500
VF-2 Bounty Hunters 10 - F-14D
VFA-137 Kestrels 12 - F/A-18
VFA-151 Vigilantes 12 - F/A-18C
VMFA-323 Death Rattlers ? - F/A-18
VAW-116 Sun Kings 4 - E-2C
VAQ-131 Lancers 4 - EA-6B
VS-38 Red Griffins 8 - S-3B