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US Forces Order of Battle - 22 February

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 had diminished to the point that it was 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 126,000 military personnel in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, including about 750 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. Virtually all of 3rd Infantry Division has been deployed to Kuwait, though it is possible that some battalions are still in the process of deploying. It is believed that the total Army presence in the region is nearly 30,000 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 20,000 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. It should be noted that tracking personnel numbers for the Air Force is extremely difficult as the actual number of pilots is small compared to support elements. These numbers could be drastically incorrect.

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 20 February 2003 there were roughly five carrier battle groups in the area, one amphibious task force, and two amphibious groups, for a total of around 76,000 naval personnel. These units included about 504 helicopters and aircraft. A total of about 2,142 Vertical Launch System cells are available for Tomahawk cruise missiles, which is roughly three times the average number typically deployed in recent years. Based on estimates of prior deployments, perhaps as many as 1,000 Tomahawks are actually deployed. The cruise missile force can be augmented significantly within days.

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 the situation.

Recent Developments


  • The USNS Brittin transited through the Suez Canal on February 14, 2003 according to the Agence France Press on Feb 14. Just what the Brittin, an LMSR, was carrying is not known as there has been no previous indication that the ship was being used to transit material.
  • MV Tellus made port in Iskenderun, Turkey on February 19 and began to offload more than 500 military vehicles thought to be associated with V Corps engineer units. The equipment is said to be part of a port expansion and upgrade needed to make the port ready for significant amounts of equipment from the 4th Infantry Division.
  • The USNS Dahl departed Jacksonville on February 14 and the USNS Bob Hope departed on February 15 according to the Stars & Stripes. According to the Christian Science Monitor it will take roughly 6 LMSRs to transport the entire 101st Airborne. The ships are headed for the Persian Gulf.


  • The 407th Forward Support Battalion has been identified as having deployed with the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne. The unit is currently in Kuwait, according to the Associated Press on February 20, 2003.
  • The 63rd Signal Battalion deployed for the CENTCOM AOR on February 16 according to the Army News Service.
  • Where the 4th Infantry Division will stage from continues to be the biggest question mark concerning deployments. The Financial Times is reporting on February 19 that the 4th is headed to Kuwait though the Washington Post reports that some four sealift carrying 4th Infantry equipment is currently off the Turkish coat waiting for approval to make port and download their equipment. The Post indicates that an agreement has to be reached by February 21 or the ships and the division will be diverted to an alternate location.
  • 3rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division should be fully deployed by the end of February according to the Rocky Mountain News on February 15, 2003. The Denver Post reported on February 20 that elements of 3rd Brigade began departing this week and that the deployment will continue through the end of February.
  • On February 15 news reports indicate that the Department of Defense has ordered the entire 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to deploy to the Middle East. 4,700 soldiers are involved in the deployment.
  • According to the Stars & Stripes on February 18, V Corps has reorganized its aviation units in Kuwait so that they are under Task Force 11th Aviation.
  • Roughly 700 soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division have received orders to deploy in support of the War on Terrorism.
  • According to Scripps Howard News Service, by February 18 4,000-plus soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division had arrived in Kuwait.
  • The 325th Military Intelligence Battalion is set to deploy to the Persian Gulf region according to the Hartford Courant on Feb 17. The deployment will involve roughly 100 soldiers.
  • The 358th Civil Affairs Brigade departed Philadelphia on Feb 18. At least 150 soldiers are deploying.
  • The 221st Military Intelligence Battalion departed on Feb 13 for Fort Stewart for an eventual deployment to the Persian Gulf. 340 soldiers are involved in the deployment.
  • 250 soldiers from Fort Bliss departed on February 15 and another 250-300 soldiers from Fort Bliss departed on Feb 17. The soldiers are a part of the 11th and 35th Air Defense Artillery according to the El Paso Times on February 17.


  • Command elements of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment have been identified as being located in Kuwait according to the Associated Press on February 14, 2003.
  • The USS Kitty Hawk and elements of her Battle Group transited the Strait of Malacca on or about February 16. She should arrive in the Persian Gulf area on or about 23 February. A Stars and Stripes story on February 21 indicates that the Vincennes is not present with the Kitty Hawk but that rather the Cowpens is with the Battle Group and that the Curtis Wilbur is still in Japan.
  • The USS Theodore Roosevelt and her Battle Group were in the Mediterranean Sea on or about February 12, 2003.
  • The Nimitz Battle Group may not be deploying for 3 to 6 weeks according to the Fresno Bee on February 17, 2003.

Marine Corps

Air Force

  • 400 airmen from the 169th Fighter Wing were ordered to deploy to the Persian Gulf region on February 18, 2003. It is unclear when the deployment will take place.
  • Elements of the 445th Airlift Wing have been ordered to begin flying soldiers from the United States to the Persian Gulf. It is not clear just how many aircraft are involved though 300 airmen are involved. The 445th currently has 9 of the wings 18 C-141s deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
  • 250 airmen from the 77th Fighter Squadron began to deploy on February 11 this deployment will involve 15 of the squadrons F-16 CDs.


  • According to The Advertiser on February 22, 2003 nearly all of the 2,000 Australian soldiers, airmen and sailors are currently in place Kuwait.
  • Australia's 5th Aviation Regiment will deploy to the Persian Gulf prior to February 17 according to Townsville Bulletin on February 11, 2003. The unit flies CH-47s and H-60s. 85 soldiers are involved in the initial deployment.

Gulf States

  • A number of Gulf States have indicated that they will deploy forces to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as part of "Peninsula Shield". The total number of forces are expected to be roughly a brigades strength, or 3,000 soldiers.
  • Naval forces from the United Arab Emirates are scheduled to arrive on scene on or about Feb 21.
  • Bahrain will also deploy naval assets to the area.
  • Apache helicopters from the UAE are expected to deploy to Kuwait or the Persian Gulf.
  • Oman has deployed a battalion to Kuwait to assist in the defense of the Gulf state.


  • According to the BBC a chemical defense battalion, consisting of 100 troops, is reportedly preparing for a possible deployment to the Middle East in anticipation of a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.

United Kingdom

  • The Press Association reported on February 13 that the United Kingdom now has roughly 42,000 military servicemen and women deployed in the Middle East. It is not clear if all of these units are in the region or if this is the number that will be present in the coming weeks.
  • 1,000 members of the 16 Air Assault Brigade are believed to be located in Kuwait at this time according to the Agence France Presse on February 19, 2003.
  • 100 soldiers from 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps were scheduled to depart

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