View Full Version : US Forces Order of Battle - 06 February 2004

07 Feb 04,, 19:00
US Forces Order of Battle - 06 February 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.

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 04 February 2004 there was one carrier strike group in the area for a total of around 10,000 naval personnel. These units included about 90 helicopters and aircraft. A total of about 196 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 90 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

DOD / Coalition
The New York Times reported on January 8 that a 400-member team, the Joint Captured Matériel Exploitation Group, which is subordinate to the Iraq Survey Group, has been withdrawn from Iraq. The unit was headed by an Australian general.
The New York Times story also identified an explosive disposal unit named Task Force D/E, for disablement and elimination.


Task Force Olympia has relieved elements of the 101st Airborne Division and has operational control of Ninewa, Irbil and Dahuk provinces.
The 1457th Engineer Battalion has been identified as being at Baghdad International Airport. It is unclear when the unit originally arrived. Task Force Olympia is a sub-element of I Corps headquarters based at Fort Lewis, Wash. The unit includes representatives from all three components of the United States Army (Active, Reserve and National Guard) as well as United States Marine Corps and Australian officers. Task Force Olympia’s subordinate units include the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), from Fort Lewis, four Iraqi Civil Defense Corps battalions, three Iraq Border Police battalions and several thousand members of the Iraq Facility Protection Security Forces and will soon include an Iraq Armed Forces battalion.
Troops from A Company, 3rd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment (of the 53rd Brigade) will begin returning to the United States by January 30 according to the Tallahassee Democrat on January 29, 2004. This is the first element of the brigade to begin its rotation back to the US.
The Aberdeen American News reported on January 28, 2004 that the 2nd Battalion, 147th Field Artillery Regiment began departing for Iraq on the same day of the report.
The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle reported on January 28 that 260 soldiers from the 2-44th Air Defense Artillery and from the 1-377th Field Artillery returned to Fort Campbell on January 27, 2004.
The Fayetteville Observer reported on January 29 that 100 combat engineers from the 37th Engineer Battalion had returned from Iraq.
The Fayetteville Observer also reported on Jan 29 that roughly half of the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division had returned to Fort Bragg and that the brigades rotation would be completed by mid-February.
General Peter Schoomaker has revealed the Army is planning two further year-long rotations of similar troop strength that is currently present in Iraq - plans that, if approved, would keep American soldiers in Iraq in strength through early 2007. The Army chief of staff made the disclosure during a Congressional hearing January 28, 2004.
According to a press release from CENTCOM issued on Jan 28 the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, from the 101st Airborne is in Kuwait and is preparing to return to the United States. It is not clear when the unit will transition back to the United States.
According to the Fayetteville Observer, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 325th Airborne Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division are beginning to head to Kuwait via convoy.
Photo's released by V Corps on January 20 indicate that the 94th Engineer Battalion returned to Hohenfels, Germany on or about January 17.
A CENTCOM Release on January 17, 2004 indicates that the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division handed over control of part of Northwest Iraq to elements of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
According to the Associated Press on January 19, 2004 the firs 200 soldiers of the 325th Airborne Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division have begun to return to the United States.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports on January 16, 2004 that the first elements of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne began returning to Fort Campbell on January 15. Specific numbers were not reported.
The first elements of the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division have begun departing Hawaii according to the Honolulu Advertise on January 13, 2004. Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment led off the departures which will continue through January 26.
Elements of the 101st Airborne Division are redeploying through Turkey, instead of through Kuwait, as many analysts had previously believed. According to an Air Force Print News story on January 14, 2004, roughly 300 soldiers arrived at Incirlik on January 6. Each group of soldiers will spend a few hours on average here before heading home on commercial aircraft; however, the base is ready for unforeseen circumstances.
The Tacoma News Tribune reported on January 11 that the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division had relieved elements of the 101st Airborne Division based in Mosul, specifically at FOB Glory. It is not clear which elements of the 101st had been relieved.
The 203rd Engineer Battalion, a National Guard unit from Missouri, has been identified by a visitor of the site as being located in Iraq. The unit has apparently been in country, supporting the 1st Armored Division since June 2003.
The Fayetteville Observer reports on January 8, 2004 that the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division began deploying to Iraq. This deployment may last between 4 to 6 months.
The Army News Service reported on January 7, 2004 that the 67th Signal Battalion was deploying to the CENTCOM AOR to replace the 63rd Signal Battalion, which will be returning in February. The unit deployed shortly after the New Year.
The first elements of the 101st Airborne Division have begun to return to the United States, ahead of the rest of the division which is slated to begin returning in large portions at the end of January 2004. Roughly 200 soldiers returned to Fort Campbell on January 7, 2004.
The first element of III Corps headquarters has begun deploying to the CENTCOM AOR according to local papers. Roughly 250 soldiers took part in the initial deployment.
Associated Press reports on December 31st that the 101st Airborne Division will begin returning to the United States sometime in late January, rather than the previously expected February or March.


On February 4, 2004 the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group made a port call at Darwin, Australia. It has been removed from the list of naval forces in the region.
On or about February 2, 2004 the USS Enterprise and its strike group were in the Red Sea indicating that it will soon transit to the Mediterranean and begin making its way home. The Enterprise will be relieved by the USS George Washington.
The Peleliu's status is still very much in doubt, as the Navy indicates that as of January 20 the ship is in the Gulf of Aden, instead of the Indian Ocean. Significant elements of its Expeditionary Strike Group have been operating in the Indian Ocean for some time, it maybe that she and the group still have some time left in the 5th Fleet AOR.
Indications are that the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group is heading east and is currently in the Indian Ocean. While an announcement has not been made as to when she will specifically return from deployment it looks as if the Peleliu, her group, and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit could return to California in late February.
Vice Admiral Timothy LaFleur, Commander, Pacific Fleet Surface Forces, stated that one week after the departure of the USS Boxer from San Diego, the USS Bataan would depart the East Coast after picking up Marines and equipment from the Cherry Point/New River/Camp Lejeune facilities and will head to the Persian Gulf.
The Navy announced on January 8 that the USS Boxer had been ordered to deploy to the Persian Gulf region in support of the OIF-2 rotation. The Boxer will be ferrying equipment and personnel from the I Marine Expeditionary Force and from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Two CH-46Ds from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 11 will be deploying with the Boxer to provide logistical support. The Boxer is scheduled to return to San Diego in April.
The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reported on January 9 that the USS Bataan may also receive orders to deploy to the Persian Gulf region to ferry Marines from Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point. It would be deployed for roughly two to three months.

Marine Corps

The Jacksonville Daily News reports on January 9 that roughly 5,000 Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force would be joining 1st Marine Division in Iraq. Marines from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and elements from the 2nd Force Service Support Group: 8th Communication Battalion, 2nd Intelligence Battlion, the headquarters, communications, and Delta companies of 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Military Police Battalion, the Transportation Company, 2nd Transportation Support Battalion, the Ordnance Maintenance and Electronic Maintenance companies from 2nd Maintenance Battalion, elements of the Ammunition Company, 2nd Supply Battalion, Alpha and Bravo Surgical companies of 2nd Medical Battalion, and the Alpha Bridge and Bulk Fuel companies of 8th Engineer Support Battalion are all scheduled to deploy.
Also, the Jacksonville Daily News indicates that elements of HMM 261, HMLA 167 (actually the JDN states that and HMLA 176 is to be sent to Iraq but no such unit has been detected), Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, MWSS 273, Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2, and elements from 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, MAC Squadron 2, and Marine Air Support Squadron 1 will be deploying to Iraq.
Some 200 Marines are reported to be deploying with the Boxer and she will also carry 16 CH-53s from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466.
The Wall Street Journal reports on January 6, 2004 that at least two battalions from the 7th Marine Regiment, the 1/7 and the 3/7 are currently training in preperation for a deployment to Iraq. It is unclear how much of the rest of the regiment is being sent.
The Pacific Stars and Stripes is reporting that the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment may be slated to head for Iraq with the 1st Marine Division.


The first elements of the Japanese Self Defense Force have arrived in Kuwait, preparing for the arrival of nearl 1,000 soldiers that will provide support in southern Iraq.