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US Forces Order of Battle

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 is further compounded by the increasing reliance on the part of the Department of Defense on the mobilization of small-sized units to fill its manpower needs. These can range from individual companies, batteries, to even smaller-sized groups of troops rather the mobilization of entire battalion-sized units.

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

Troop levels

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. The rotation was slated to take place until March 2005.

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.

More than 1,500 paratroopers from the 2nd BDE, 82nd Airborne Division began arriving in Iraq on December 4, 2004 in order to help provide security for the upcoming elections. This is a separate deployment from the scheduled OIF rotations.

The 2nd Brigade's 3rd Battalion, 325th AIR has been attached to the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The Second Battalion has been attached to the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

The Washington Post reported on February 4, 2005, that Pentagon authorities, in response to the success of the Iraqi elections, have decided to start reducing the level of U.S. forces in Iraq next month by about 15,000 troops. The reduction reportedly involves units whose tours were extended in light of the elections and the 1,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne who were rushed to Iraq for election security.

In February the Army's 18th Airborne Corps took over as the Mulitnational Corps Iraq headquarters. The Multinational Corps commands all coalition forces in country with the exception of special operations forces, the Multinational Transition Security Command Iraq and coalition forces involved in detention operations.

As a result of the January 2005 Iraqi elections, the deployment of a number of units taking part in OIF 2 was extended in a manner similar to units which took part in OIF 1; this time in order to boost the number of troops in Iraq in time for the elections. The extension combined with regularly scheduled deployments and reinforcements boosted the US force in Iraq from 17 to 20 brigades and to an official and approximate figure of 153, 000 troops. That number is expected to dwindle down to 135,000, as units get rotated out of Iraq, including units whose tour had been extended.

This figure may, however, have been an undercount of actual in-country troop numbers, as Special Forces have been reported to generally be excluded from troop totals. As such, the total figure of US troops in Iraq may be higher than the official count of ~150,000 by multiple thousands. One such Special Forces unit, the 10th Special Forces Group deployed to Iraq in late-2004, for an undetermined length of time.


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. 17,000 airmen were 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 Strike Group, with its associated Carrier Air Wing, has approximately 11,000 sailors embarked. As of 01 March 2005 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 313 Vertical Launch System cells are available for Tomahawk cruise missiles, though based on estimates of prior deployments, perhaps as many as 156 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. One Marine Expeditionary Unit, the 15th MEU is deployed to Kuwait, where it arrived in mid-February. 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.

Army/Reserve Component Distribution

Army National Guard/Reserve Troop Numbers
OIFNational GuardReserve

According to July 7, 2004 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.

Recent Developments




Marine Corps

Air Force


  • A Mar 31 Navy NewsStand story reported that 200 sailors making up the third and final wave of Navy Reserve Cargo Handlers mobilized and deployed by the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force (NAVELSF) in August 2004 woudl return to Naval Station Norfolk on April 2.
  • On Mar 27, the Kearsarge ESG completed embarkation of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. It Deployed on Mar. 29.
  • A Mar 21 Navy NewsStand story reported that 200 mobilized Reservists of the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force's (NAVELSF) Forward Bravo group had returned home to Norfolk from Kuwait on March 20 after completing a seven-month deployment.
  • According to a Mar 28 Navy NewsStand story CVN-75 Harry S. Truman was relieved on Mar 19 2005 by CVN-70 Carl Vinson


  • On March 15, 2005, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that Italy would begin to withdraw its troops from Iraq in September 2005.
  • On March 15, 137 Ukrainian soldiers arrived home as part of the first group from that country's contingent in Iraq to withdraw from Iraq.

  • Moldova withdrew its contingent of 12 troops from Iraq in February 2005. The withdrawal had not been previously noted.
  • The Kingdom of Tonga withdrew its contingent of 40+ troops from Iraq in December 2004. The withdrawal had not been previously noted.

  • On March 14, 2005, The London Daily Telegraph reported that on March 7, 2005, Dutch military forces in Iraq handed over command in the province Al Muthanna to the British, thereby officially ending its mission in Iraq. It also reported that, as of March 14, 2005, only 200 Dutch troops were reported to still be in the province. They were scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of the month. The Associated Press reported on Mar. 15, that 150 troops had returned home on Feb. 21. The BBC reported on Mar. 15. that another 150 had returned home that day, but 800 troops were still in Iraq.
  • Ukraine's defense ministry announced that it would begin withdrawing its troops from Iraq on March 15, with the departure of 150 troops.
  • Poland is slated to withdraw several additional hundred soldiers from Iraq by summer
  • BBC News reported on Mar. 2, that Ukraine had outlined the timetable fo the withdrawal of its 1,650 or so troops in Iraq. They are to depart the country in three stages set between mid-March and October 2005. During the first phase, 150 troops would leave. They would be later followed by an additional 590 troops. The remaining Ukrainian soldiers are to leave Iraq by mid-October.
  • A contingent of 558 troops, as well as 40 liaison officers, from Georgia deployed on Mar. 02 for Iraq, via Kuwaitm where they will stay for two weeks. The troops are assigned to the Shavnabada Battalion. As a result, Georgia will have 898 troops in Iraq.
  • Albania announced on Feb. 25, that it would boost its troop contribution to Iraq by 50 in April 2005 during a regularly scheduled troop rotation.

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