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US Forces Order of Battle - 23 August 2004

This is a "best available" listing of US forces deployed to the Central Command 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 Iraq Freedom or in support of homeland security also complicates matters as it is not entirely clear what units are going where.

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

Beginning in late December 2003, the United States began implementing the OIF 2 troop rotation that would begin to bring roughly 130,000 Army personnel out of Iraq and deploy roughly 110,000 troops into Iraq as replacements. The rotation was expected to last until late April 2004 but increasing security concerns in April caused the redeployment of forces to be put on hold for roughly 90 days. Ground forces in the region that were to be replaced included the 101st Airborne Division, 4th Infantry Division, 1st Armored Division, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and elements of the 82nd Airborne Division. There are also a significant number of echelon above division support units in the region. The Army was rotating in the 1st Cavalry Division, elements of the 1st Infantry Division, elements of the 25th Infantry Division, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division and an additional three brigades from the Army National Guard.

The 1st Armored Division, and 2nd Light cavaly Regiment, after having been extended, have begun redeploying home. This process was to be completed for the 2nd LCR by the end of July 2004. Similarly, some of the units of the 1st Armored Division, had, as of July 11, 2004, already redeployed back.

As of early March 2004 over 114,000 US personnel and over 23,000 coalition personnel from 35 nations were deployed in Iraq. Over 26,000 US and Coalition personnel were deployed in Kuwait, providing logistical support to Operation Iraqi Freedom. As of mid-April 2004 the number of troops in the Central Command Area of Responsibility was officially estimated at between 200,00 and 225,000 total. 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 20,000.

An additional 30,000 soldiers are estimated to be operating in Kuwait and other areas of the region supporting operations in Iraq. Thus, the total number of soldiers in Southwest Asia is believed to be about 170,000.

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. Currently, AEF 7 & 8 are deployed, with roughly 17,000 airmen deployed in the CENTCOM AOR according to Stars and Stripes on May 26, 2004.

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 Battle Group, with its associated Carrier Air Wing, has approximately 11,000 sailors embarked. As of 13 July 2004 there was one carrier strike group and one expeditionary strike group in the area for a total of around 17,000 naval personnel. A total of about 501 Vertical Launch System cells are available for Tomahawk cruise missiles, though based on estimates of prior deployments, perhaps as many as 250 Tomahawks are actually deployed. The cruise missile force can be augmented significantly within days.

The Marine presence in Iraq is centered around the I Marine Expeditionary Force and the 1st Marine Division. Two Marine Expeditionary Units, the 11th and 24th MEU have also arrived in the CENTCOM AOR for deployment to Iraq. 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 July 7, 2004, Lt. General Jan C. July, Deputy Commandant, Plans, Policies, & Operations, USMC, testified that 26,427 Marines were deployed in Iraq. An additional 657 were deployed in the Horn of Africa. Marine tactical units deploy for seven months. Headquarters and command elements deploy, however, for 12 months periods.

18-plus brigades equivalent were in Iraq, as of July 7, 2004. That number was to dwindle down to 17-plus brigades with the rotation out of the 1st Armored Division and the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment.

Army/Reserve Component Distribution
OIFActiveReserve
175%25%
261%39%
357-58%42-43%

Army National Guard/Reserve Troop Numbers
OIFNational GuardReserve
233,00020,000
337,00017,000

According to July 7 testimony by Lt. General Jan C. July, the Marine Corps troop component distribution was at about 20% Reserves and 80% active duty.

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.

OIF-3 Rotation

Beginning in July 2004, the United States began implementing the OIF 3 troop rotation. OIF-3 plans call for troops numbers to be reduced from 140,000 to roughly 130,000.

According to documents presented during a HASC hearing on July 7, 2004, US force disposition plans call for a Stryker Brigade to remain stationed in Northern Iraq. The 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, will replace in this role the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. In the North-central sector of Iraq, The 1st Infantry Division will be replaced by the 42nd Infantry Division of the NY National Guard, while II MEF will take over I MEF operations in Western Iraq. The Brigade of the 1st Armored Division attached to the Polish south-central sector, will be replaced by the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain. Finally, the 3rd Infantry Division will take over the 1st cavalry Divison in Baghdad. As part of the rotation, OIF units will be deploying 'heavy'.

The number of Army National Guard brigades in Iraq will increase during this rotation from three to five. The rotation will mark a first with a National Guard division headquarters (42nd Infantry Division) assuming, for the first time in Iraq, command active-duty brigades.


Recent Developments

CENTCOM

Army

  • The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) reported on August 23 that the 216th Engineering Battalion had deployed to Iraq in February 2004.
  • The Associated Press reported on August 23 that the 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion had been activated in January 2003 and had returned in March 2004 from a deployment to Baghdad, Iraq. This unit had not previously been noted.
  • According to the Associated Press, the Army Reserve's 395th Quartermaster Battalion had a send-off party on August 22 for its departure for training to Fort Drum in New York, before deploying to Southwest Asia.
  • The State (Columbia, SC) reported on August 22, that the 3rd Battalion, 178th Field Artillery, was deployed to Iraq. After more research, it was gathered that the unit deployed to Iraq in January. Other units from S. carolina which deployed around the same timeframe are the 51st Rear Area Operations Center, 268th Engineer firefighter detachment, 1052 Transportation Company, 175th Maintenance Company, 874th Medical Team, 343rd Quartermaster Company, 450th Ordnance Company, 360th Adjutant General Battalion, 277th Adjutant General Replacement Company and the 460th Adjutant General Replacement Company
  • The Associated Press reported that the 1864th Transportation Company with 175 troops deployed for 18 months on August 19 for Fort Lewis from where it would deploy to Kuwait and Iraq.
  • The 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division deployed with 900 troops to Iraq in June. Their deployment had not previously been noted.
  • An August 17, 2004, story in the Times-Picayune, mentionned that the 1st Battalion, 244th Aviation was in Iraq and stationed at Camp Anaconda. The article mentioned that the unit's tour was to last another 6 months+.
  • The Associated Press reported that member of the 29th Infantry Brigade was mobilized on August 16. The unit is scheduled to depart for Fort Bliss on October 2.
  • The Associated Press reported on August 15, 2004 that the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion from the Army Reserve in Connecticut departed for Fort Bragg, N.C. on August 14, for training before its deployment to Iraq.
  • The Korea Times reported on August 13, 2004 that the U.S. military had completed on August 11 a 10-day airlift operation aimed at shifting troops from the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division to Iraq. The final flights left Osan AB for the Middle East.
  • The San Antonio Express-News reported on August 12 that troops from the 56th Brigade were to report for duty by August 16. They are scheduled to undergo training at Fort Hood in preparation for their deployment for Iraq in January 2005.
  • The Associated Press reported on August 11, that the 1st Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment with 275 soldiers, was likely to be mobilized later that week. No additional information was available. Update: The unit left for training at Fort Bragg, N.C. on August 13.
  • The 120th Engineer Battalion deployed in late-February to Iraq with 600 troops. The deployment had not been previously reported.
  • According to a Newsday report from August 9, the Army Reserve's 354th Transportation Battalion was scheduled to leave on August 12 for training at Fort Dix before deploying to the Persian Gulf area.
  • The Korea Herald, reported on August 3, that the 2nd BDE, 2nd Infantry Division held a departure ceremony at Camp Casey in Dongducheon on August 2.
  • The Reno Gazette-Journal reported on July 31, that the 1st Squadron 221st Cavalry would deploy in mid-August to Fort Irwin, CA, for at least a year out of a period of 18-24 months.
  • The Asheville Citizen-Times reported on July 30, that the North Carolina National Guard's 105th Military Police Battalion had received its mobilization orders. The 175-strong unit was scheduled to mobilize shortly after August 12 for training before deploying to Iraq. It was unclear how many in the unit were actually being called up.
  • Members of the 203rd Engineer Battalion began returning home in July. It is believed the redeployment home was completed by the end of the month.
  • A Xinhua report from July 29, 2004, reported that two cargo ships carrying for the 2nd BDE, 2nd Infantry Division consisting of M-1A1 Abrams tanks, M-109A6 self-propelled Paladin howitzers and other combat equipment had left S. Korea the previous week for the Middle East.
  • A July 28, 2004 story in the Oregonian mentionned that the 405-man strong 1st Battalion, 162nd Batallion had returned home three months prior, in April, after a 14-months deployment.
  • The Associated Press reported on reported July 28, 2004 that the 372nd Military Police Company was in Kuwait, in preparation for a return home at an unspecified date. seven members of the unit have been charged in connection with abuses perpetrated at the Abu Ghraib prison facility.
  • The Associated Press noted that part of the 17th Corps Support Battalion had deployed to Iraq in January.
  • The Associated Press reported on July 28, 2004, that more than 400 soldiers of the 39th Infantry Brigade had been un-officially notified that they would be allowed to return home early in the fall. The troops affected were initially deployed to the Sinai Peninsula as part of a peacekeeping operation before returning home and then being deployed to Iraq. They would return as a result of Army policy which dictates that Guard and Reserve forces are not to serve on the same active-duty mission for more than 24 cumulative months.
  • The Associated Press reported on July 27, 2004, that 50 guardsmen of the 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment had been alerted to deploy to Iraq, with hundreds more from that unit possibly being alerted as well. The report also mentionned that part of the 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry had deployed to Iraq and was stationed in the outskirts of Baghdad.
  • The Associated Press reported that mobilization orders were given out for approximately 1,100 Kansas National Guardsmen. Affected by the order were the 74th Quartermaster Company, the 891st Engineer Battalion, the 137th Transportation Company, and Battery E, 161st Field Artillery.
  • The 3rd Infantry Division announced on July 23 that it had received deployment orders to return for at least a year to Iraq as part of the OIF III rotation.
  • The Columbus-Ledger reported on July 22, 2004 that the 1148th Transportation Company of the 110th Corps Support Battalion had just returned home after 14 months in Iraq.
  • The 223rd Engineer Battalion redeployed sometime in the March 2004 timeframe. Their return from Iraq had not been reported previously.
  • According to the Associated Press, 2,000 members of the Hawaii Army National Guard received orders on July 20 to report for active duty on August 16.
  • An Associated Press story from July 17, reported that the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division would begin pulling out of South Korea the following week, and would be in Iraq by the end of August.
  • The Associated Press reported on July 16 that the XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters staff would deploy in the fall to Iraq as part of a regularly scheduled deployment. Other units included in the rotation were the 1st Corps Support Command, 18th Airborne Corps Artillery, 44th Medical Command, 18th Aviation Brigade, 20th Engineer Brigade, 35th Signal Brigade, 16th Military Police Brigade, 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, and 18th Soldier Support Group. The article also noted that approximately 300 soldier from the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry would deply to Iraq at the end of the year taking with them three OH-58D Kiowa Warrior
  • A July 16 story by the Associated Press mentioned that the Army Reserve 468th Chemical Battalion had returned home in April after a year spent in Iraq.
  • MNC-I/MNF-I officially announced that the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division had arrived in Baghdad.
  • The Associated Press reported on July 15 that the 1st Battalion, 178th Field Artillery from the South Carolina Army National Guard had been called to active duty. The unit 600 troops will train at Fort Dix.
  • The Wichita Eagle reported on July 15, that the 317th Quartermaster Battalion had been called to active duty.
  • The Associated Press reported on July 14, that the 778th Transportation Company of the Kansas Army National Guard had been mobilized for duty in Iraq. It was unclear whether the whole unit to which it belogs, the 169th Corps Support Battalion, had been mobilized as well.
  • According to a July 7 HASC hearing, the 11th ACR's role as OPFOR is being backfilled by the 1-221st Cavalry, a Guard unit from Nevada, and augmented by the 86th Armored Brigade from the Vermont National Guard. The 1st Battalion, 509th Infantry would be backfilled by a brigade from teh Illinois National Guard.
  • The Associated Presse reported on July 3, that the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry had been mobilized for training at Fort Bliss for their upcoming deplyment to Iraq.
  • The 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division began arriving back to Baumholder, Germany on July 2.
  • The 29th Separate Infantry Brigade has been alerted for deployment. The Honolulu Advertiser reported that the unit could be mobilized as early as September for deployment in February to replace the 81st Brigade
  • Soldiers from the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment began arriving back at at Fort Polk on July 8. The deployment back home is to be completed by the end of the month.
  • According to testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on July 7, the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was already in Iraq.
  • The 115th Field Hospital is due to depart for Iraq toward the end of July.
  • The Associated Press reported on July 9, that an internal Army document obtained by the Daily Star of Oneonta raised the possibility of the 98th Army Reserve Division's 3,600 soldiers being deployed to the Middle East. The unit announced that between 500 and 700 reservists would deploy to Iraq in September to train the Iraqi army.

Marine Corps

  • The 31st MEU departed around 20 August 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It left Okinawa with about 2,000 Marines and sailors with its deployment orders from the U.S. Secretary of Defense coming nearly a month earlier than its routine fall deployment. It is composed of Battalion Landing Team 1/3 from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-265 from Okinawa; and a combat service support element, MEU Service Support Group-31.
  • The Associated Press reported on August 24 that about 160 members of the 2nd Force Service Support Group had left the previous day for Iraq. Another 90 from the unit were already reported to be in theater.
  • The 11th MEU assumed operational control of the An Najaf and Al Qadisiyah provinces from the U.S. Army during a ceremony on July 31.
  • The Los Angeles Times reported on July 16, that 700+ soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment returned to Camp Pendleton on July 15. The rest of the battalion would arrive over the next couple of days.
  • USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) began offloading elements of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in the Arabian Gulf July 7, reaching the mid-point of its surge mission to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility (AOR). The process took three days.

Air Force

  • The Fort Wayne News Sentinel reported on August 9, 2004, that approximately 275 members of the 122nd Fighter Wing had just been deployed to Qatar as part of an AEF for a scheduled 90-day rotation. An Associated Press report from August 6 reported that the members from the 122nd would however only serve for the the last 30 days of the AEF 90-day cycle.
  • The Albuquerque Journal reported on July 28, that 185 airmen from the 150th Fighter Wing had departed for Balad, Iraq on July 27 for a 45 day rotation.

Navy

  • The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) reported on August 22, 2004, that Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 9, had deployed to Kuwait in January and would redeploy back to the United States in December 2004.
  • The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on August 16 that Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 17 woudl mobilize on August 19 for a deployement to the Middle East. The deployment was expected to be Iraq.
  • Navy Times reported on August 2 that 318 reservists attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 23 had received mobilization orders on July 20 for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They would report for duty in August before deploying to Iraq where they would replace Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14. The article also metionned that 475 reservists from NMCB 14 and 15 were stationed in Iraq.
  • The Biloxi Sun Herald reported on August 9, 2004, that 280 members of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 had returned home on August 8, with more troops from that unit due back on August 25. The unit deployed in January.

Coalition

  • In an article in the British Western Mail from August 26, 2004, an MoD spokesman was reported as saying that there were 8,361 UK service personnel in Iraq.
  • The Associated Press reported on August 19, that El Salvador had that day dispatched 150 for Kuwait as part of a regularly scheduled rotation to Iraq. The remaining 230 troops would leave on August 20 and 22.
  • The Sunday Territorian in Australia reported on August 15, that 50 soldiers from the Territory's 1st Brigade were to be deployed to Iraq in September for a period of four months and tasked with protecting Australian diplomats and escort supply convoys. The troops are to be drawn from the 2nd Calvary Regiment and 5/7 RAR Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. They will be equipped with 6 Australian Light Armoured Vehicles.
  • Ukraine announced on August 13 that it would proceed with the rotation, in the mid-September and mid-October timeframe, of a brigade to Iraq to replace its contingent deployed there. The brigade would consist of three battalions.
  • Clarification: Japan was believed to have had ~1,100 troops in the region. This figure included approximately 550 troops based in Samawah, Iraq. It also included an approximately additional 200 or so Japanese Air Self-Defense Force personnel based out of Kuwait's Ali Al-Salem Air Base. These provide C-130 airlifts of aid and equipment. The remaining were from two Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force ships (the destroyer Murasame and the transport ship Oosumi) which ferried vehicles and material to Kuwait for the Japanese GSDF troops. The return home of two ships however on April 8, 2004 had not been previously noted. Though, as of late April 2004, two japanese supply ships and three destroyers were supporting US-led anti-terrorism operations in the Arabian Sea, with the next rotation to consist of a single supply ship and two destroyers, these are not included in this tally for Japanese troops are they are prohibited by law from supporting missions unrelated to anti-terrorism activities related to the 11 September attacks. As a result the number of Japanese troops in the area has been revised downward to ~750 troops in the region.
  • On August 09, 2004, Philippine military officials announced that a battalion of soldiers were getting prepared for the possibility of a deployment to Iraq, should the Philippino government decide to send another contingent of 500 peacekeepers to Iraq under the mandate of the United Nations.
  • BBC Monitoring Reports reported that on August 6 a ceremony was held for the departure of the Romanian 3rd National Engineer Detachment to Iraq. The unit is composed of 149 troops from the 96th Engineer Battalion and 58 troops from other units. The departure date was not announced. Also unclear was whether this deployment would be in addition to other Romanian troops already deployed or as part of a rotation.
  • A Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman announced on August 2 that Pakistan would not contribute troops for Iraq given the 'volatile' situation in Iraq.
  • Ukraine's prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, openly called on August 2, 2004, for Ukraine to reduce the size of its troop contingent in Iraq, numbering 1,576 troops. The report by the Associated Press, also mentionned the announcement on August 1 by the Ukrainian Defense Minister, that a brigade would be rotating into Iraq in September and would number 1,722 troops, reflecting an increase in strength of close to 10%.
  • BBC Monitoring reported on August 2, that the rotation of the Romanian 26th Infantry Battalion Neagoe Basarab was complete, with the last detachment from that unit having arrived back home earlier that day.
  • El Salvador announced on July 30, 2004 that it would deploy a 380-strong contingent of troops to Iraq on August 17. The third Salvadorian contingent, the unit is to include both medical personnel and engineers and is to be tasked mainly with civil recontruction as well as training of Iraqi forces. The country is the lone remaining member of the "Ultra Plus Brigade" formerly commanded by Spain.
  • According to a July 29, 2004 Xhinhua report, the Czech Republic, in drafting its peacekeeping missions participation plan had settled on withdrawing troops from Iraq, thereby reducing its presence to an at-the-most 10-men stron surgical team in Basrah. The account also reported that roughly 100 MPs were in-country for training purposes.
  • According to a ITAR-TASS report from July 29, 2004, Ukraine restated its intention to carry out the roration of its' brigrade seven in Iraq. Negotations to that effect had been started in Warsaw and pursued at the June Istanbul NATO defense ministers meeting.
  • According to a BBC monitoring report, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces had abandoned plans to deploy a battalion to Iraq, for financial reasons.
  • According to a BBC Monitoring report from July 27, 2004, the rotation of Romanian troops involving the relieving of the 26th Infantry Battalion Neagoe Basarab with the 812th Infantry Battalion would be completed by mid-August.
  • A BBC report from July 20 reported that the first detachment of the Romanian 812th Infantry Battalion Carpathian Hawks left on that date to replace the the 26th Red Scorpions Battalion of Craiova.
  • The peacekeeping mission in Iraq of the Philippines contingent terminated on July 19, as the last troops still in country left for Kuwait to return home.
  • According to various press accounts, the withdrawal of Philippine Troops will be complete on Monday, July 19. Polish troops will take over the duties previously assumed by the Philippines contingent.
  • On July 16, 2004, the Philippines announced the withdrawal of an additional 10 soldiers as well as the head of its humanitarian mission to Iraq. This brought the number of Philippines troops still in country to 32.
  • Various news media were reporting that Singapore had quietly reduced its presence in Iraq from 191 to 33. It is unclear when the troops left the country. Update: Singapore has a KC-135 refueling aircraft deployed to the region. Conflicting media reports suggest the 33 troops might be assigned to that aircraft with some uncertainty as to whether the aircraft is actually based in Iraq.
  • The Washington Post, on July 15, reported that Moldova had quietly reduced its contingent to 12. It also reported that New Zealand was planning to pull out its 60 engineers by September and that Thailand was almost certain to withdraw its 450 men contingent. On the other hand Albania had pledged to increase its commitment from 70 to 200 troops.
  • A BBC Worldwide Monitoring report from July 14, mentionned the departure of 100 MPs from the Romanian 265th Battalion to Iraq's province of Di Qar for six months. They are to operate under Italian command there.
  • According to An Associated Press report from July 13, Poland had announced the week prior that it would reduce in January its troops strength in Iraq from 2,400 to between 1,000 and 1,500.
  • The 2nd Bulgarian Army infantry battalion stationed in Iraq completed its rotation home on July 13.
  • On July 13, 2004, the Philippines announced that it would withdraw its troops from Iraq as soon as possible under pressure from kidnappers holding a Filipino hostage. They were originally scheduled to leave the country on August 20, 2004. On July 14, 2004, it had reduced its troop contingent from 51 to 43.



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