View Full Version : US Forces Order of Battle - 18 November

06 Dec 03,, 06:03
US Forces Order of Battle - 18 November

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.

The task of developing a comprehensive listing of US forces present in the area is particularly difficult as forces have been known to rotate in and out of the region in response to heightened operational tempo or exercises. 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 and to deceive potential enemies and the media, among others.

Furthermore, the volume of troops moving in and out of the region will surely result in mistakes, misidentifications, or ignorance regarding specific units.

Exluding forces deployed in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom, there are probably about 156,000 military personnel in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, including about 350 aircraft of all types. The number of troops deployed in the area fluctuates on a daily basis as new forces surge into the region and some units begin to return to the United States. Of the 150,000 soldiers in the region, the National Guard Bureau on September 17, 2003 indicated that 29,000 are from the Army and Air National Guard and 50,000 from the reserves.

Ground Forces in the region include virtually all of 101st Airborne Division, 4th Infantry Division, 1st Armored Division, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and an element of the 82nd Airborne Division have been deployed to Iraq. There are a significant number of echelon above division support units in the region. It is believed that the total Army presence in Iraq is nearly 130,000 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. In an effort to provide relief to pilots that had been deployed for prolonged periods of time the Air Force initiated a "Blue" rotation that would bring new assets to the region. It is not clear just how many airmen are deployed, though the number is likely to be around 10,000 with roughly 250 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 Battle Group, with its associated Carrier Air Wing, has approximately 11,000 sailors embarked. As of 15 October 2003 there was one carrier strike group and one expeditionary strike group in the area for a total of around 16,000 naval personnel. These units included about 125 helicopters and aircraft. A total of about 425 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 200 Tomahawks are actually deployed. The cruise missile force can be augmented significantly within days.

As of 20 August 2003 a total of 27 countries, in addition to the United States, had contributed a total of approximately 21,700 troops to ongoing stability operations in Iraq. These 27 are Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, El Salvador, Estonia, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. In addition to the 27 countries with forces already on the ground in Iraq, four others (Moldova, the Philippines, Portugal, and Thailand) have committed to providing troops. Fourteen other countries are currently considering whether to provide forces for Iraq.

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


-According to a report in the New York Times on November 7, 2003, Task Force 20 has been disbanded in July and elements within it have been merged with remaining elements of Task Force 5 to form Task Force 121. The unit is comprised of Army, Navy, and Air Force Special Operations Forces and is tasked with tracking down and capturing/killing Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Mullah Muhammad Omar and other important terrorist leaders.


-The Tacoma News Tribune reported on November 16 that the last of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division had arrived in Kuwait and were preparing to move into Iraq.

-During a Department of Defense briefing held on November 6, 2003, Army and National Guard officials detailed plans for the forthcoming troop rotations for Iraq. It indicates that the 82nd Airborne Division, the 4th Infantry Division, the 1st Armored Division, and the 101st Airborne Division would be replaced beginning in January 2004 through May 2004 by an element of the 1st Marine Division reinforced with an unidentified brigade of the 25th Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division with the 39th Enhanced Separate Brigade, and the 1st Infantry Division reinforced by the 30th Enhanced Separate Brigade and the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Furthermore, National Guard infantry battalions from Florida and Indiana (which have been identified as being part 53rd and 76th Infantry Brigades though this is the first time they have been labeled in such a way in their entire deployment) will be replaced by the 81st Enhanced Separate Brigade. The obvious differences from what was disclosed in July are the deployment of the entire 1st Infantry Division, instead of only portions of, the deployment of an element of the 25th Infantry Division, and the deployment of elements of the 1st Marine Division.

Marine Corps

-The New York Times reported on November 6, 2003 that the Department of Defense plans on deploying roughly 20,000 Marines from the 1st Marine Division to serve in Iraq in support of OIF. Initial details were sketchy, but the times indicates that roughly two brigades would be deployed from Camp Pendleton, which would appear to be an error as there is only one brigade associated with division. Details are said to be forthcoming.

Air Force

-Debka.com has reported (and various other groups including Orbat.com have picked up on) that the United States is sending significant numbers of fighters and bombers from the United States to the Middle East in preperation for attacks on Syria or some other country. However, upon conducting some research it becomes clear that the significant numbers of aircraft that have been spotted over Scotland recently are actually, cargo aircraft. In fact, the traffic over Europe in the last week or so has consisted of cargo and refueling aircraft with some fighter flights out of US bases in Europe. There was only one B-52 report. Furthermore, there has not been any indication from airbases in the US that a major deployment is under way. One might think that Debka is trying to make Syria nervous.


-The Iraq Governing Council has rejected the deployment of Turkish soldiers into Iraq.

-The London Times reported on November 6, 2003 that the British Army might still be in Iraq in 2005.