View Full Version : US Forces Order of Battle - 19 December

24 Dec 03,, 07:32
US Forces Order of Battle - 19 December

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 elements 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


The Washington Post is reporting on December 19, 2003 that the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division will be deployed to Iraq in January and will remain in the AOR for 120 days. Also, the 3rd Brigade will have its tour extended by 60 days, pushing its departure back to April 2004. This extension is due to problems with the 81st Armor Brigade's activation, apparently it needs more time to train.
Soldiers from the 54th Engineer Battalion returned to Germany in December 2003.
Significant elements of the 11th Signal Brigade have made their way home according to local news reports. The unit had at one time had as many as 1,300 soldiers deployed to the Middle East and over the last couple of months that number has dwindled to "several hundred". The remainder of the unit is to return from the Middle East in March 2004.
Repeated searches have been unable to identify units assigned to PATRIOT Task Forces, which have been deployed around the Middle East for roughly a decade. It is presumed that these units have returned home and the Task Forces have been deactivated as the missile threat from Iraq has been removed.
The 101st Chemical Company returned to the US in July.
The 459th Engineer Company returned in mid November 2003.

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 Korean Government has agreed to deploy roughly a brigade sized force to Northern Iraq, to the Kirkuk area by May 2004.