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Ironduke
13 Mar 04,, 00:10
US Forces Order of Battle - 12 March 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.

Exluding forces deployed in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom, there are probably about 153,000 military personnel in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, including about 425 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.

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 105,000 troops into Iraq as replacements. The rotation is expected to last until late April 2004.

Ground forces in the region that are to be replaced include 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 is 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. It is believed that the total Army presence in Iraq is nearly 120,000 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. While deployments for active duty units generally lasts roughly 90-days while Reserve and Guard units deploy typically for 30 - 60 days, though the Air Force's adoption of Blue and Silver rotations from July 2003 until mid-March 2004 have each of these rotations deployed for 120 days each. AEF Silver is currently deployed and will not be relieved until mid-March 2004 at which point AEF 7 and 8 will rotate into the region.

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 05 March 2004 there was one carrier strike group in the area for a total of around 11,000 naval personnel. These units included about 125 helicopters and aircraft. A total of about 223 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 110 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

CENTCOM

General John Abizaid, head of CENTCOM, stated during testimony at a Congressional hearing on March 3, 2004, that he had ordered US military personnel to begin vacating palaces of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and to hand over Baghdad International Airport with a year. US troops will likely relocate to former Iraqi Army locations.
Repeated attempts to verify the presence of elements of SOCCENT in Iraq have come up with little positive results. This being the case we are no longer confident that the units previously listed are still in Iraq. Thus the listing for SOCCENT has been edited to reflect confirmed presence of some civil affairs units, as well as the possible continued presence of Task Force 56.
Task Force 121 is reported to have left Iraq and set up shop in Afghanistan, according to the Washington Times on Feb 23, 2004. It has been joined by elements of the 160th SOAR.

Army

The 42nd Engineer Battalion returned to New Mexico on or about March 6, 2004 according to the Albuquerque Journal on March 10.
The Associated Press reported on March 12, 2004 that the 122nd Engineer Battalion has returned to the United States on Mar 11, following a 14-month deployment to Iraq.
Copley News Service reported on March 8, 2004 that the 419th Transportation Battalion had returned to Illinois following a 15 month deployment to Iraq.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on March 6, 2004 the 81st Armored Brigade has completed is training at the National Training Center and is in the process of cleaning equipment, prior to its deployment to Iraq in late March 2004.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is no longer believed to be in Iraq as various images from the Air Force in late February show troops and equipment from the unit offloading in Italy.
Agence France Presse reported on March 8, 2004 that the 14th Engineer Battalion was operating in Iraq, near Tikrit and was under the control of the 555th Combat Engineer Group. Both units are I Corps units, and have been listed under Task Force Olympia. The units are currently involved in explosive ordnance disposal.
The Associated Press reported on March 7, 2004 that roughly 40 reservists from the 52nd Engineer Battalion returned to the United States. The unit had deployed to Iraq last Spring and was operating with the 101st Airborne Division to assist with reconstruction efforts. The unit left Iraq in early February 2004 and trasited to Kuwait.
The 101st Airborne Division's rotation from Iraq is believed to have been completed with the recent return of the 716th Military Police Battalion, the Associated Press reported on March 7, 2004.
The Associated Press reported on March 7, 2004 that the first elements of the 142nd Engineer Battalion had begun to return to Fort Carson. Roughly 630 soldiers from the battalion were deployed to the Middle East, and 70 were on the first plane back to the US.
The Associated Press reported on March 6, 2004 that the 1st Battalion, 86th Field Artillery Regiment would be completing training at Fort Dix on March 7 and would deploy to Kuwait by March 9 at which point they would begin to head towards Iraq.
The State (Columbia, SC) reported on March 4, 2004 that roughly 350 soldiers from the 122nd Engineer Battalion were expected to return to Fort Stewart on March 4.
The Associated Press reported on March 4, 2004 that the 142nd Engineer Battalion would be returning from Iraq on or about March 6, 2004.
The Associated Press reported on Mar 1, 2004 the first elements of the 1-124th Infantry Regiment began returning on or about February 28 and that the remainder of the unit was to return by March 3. This completed the deployment of the 53rd Infantry Brigade.
The Deseret Morning News reported on February 29, 2004 that the 141st Military Intelligence Battalion returned from Iraq on February 28. This unit is believed to have had about 110 troops deployed who have now returned. The unit had not previously been identified as being in Southwest Asia.
The Killeen Daily Herald reported on March 2, 2004 that elements of the 4th ID's artillery have begun to return to Fort Hood. This rotation is believed to be completed in April.
The 13th Corps Support Command is also reported to have begun flying back elements to Fort Hood, the Killeen Daily Herald reports.
The New York Daily News reported on February 26, 2004 that the roughly 100 troops from the 800th Military Police Brigade returned to the US.
Troops assigned to the 1-152nd Infantry Regiment returned to the United States in late February according to the South Bend Tribune on Feb 24, 2004.
The Newport News Daily Press reported on February 24, 2004 that the first elements of the 7th Transportation Group began rotating back to the United States. The report indicates that roughly 60 troops from the 10th Transportation Battalion returned, though another 480 remain in Iraq whose return in unclear.
The Leaf Chronicle reported on February 21, 2004 that 12,739 troops from the 101st Airborne Division had returned from Iraq.
The Ocean County Observer reported on Feb 20, 2004 that the 310th Military Police Battalion had returned to the United States.
The 671st Engineer Company returned to the United States in mid-February 2004, according to the Associated Press on Feb 16, 2004.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported on February 7, 2004 that the 489th Engineer Battalion had returned from Iraq following a thirteen month deployment.
The troops from the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment returned to the United States sometime ago, according to the Associated Press on Dec 20, 2003.

Navy

The US Coast Guard announced on March 4, 2004 that Three Naval Coastal Warfare units are deploying to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, March 6, 2004, from Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, Calif. The units are HDCU 111 and two Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Units (MIUWU) that will form Naval Coastal Warfare Detachment Six, comprised of more than 250 personnel.
The Biloxi Sun Herald reported on March 4, 2004 that roughly 35 Seabees from the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment departed for Iraq on March 3.
On or about February 17, 2004 the George Washington Strike Group transited the Suez Canal and entered the 5th Fleet AOR.

Marine Corps

Copley News Service reported on March 8, 2004 that the 1,000 Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines currently in Kuwait will begin deploying to Falluja over the next two weeks. The unit will reportedly be taking the place of elements of the 82nd Airborne Division that have been operating from Camp Volturno.

Air Force

Elements of the 34th Bomb Squadron returned from operations in support of OIF and OEF on or about March 7, 2004, according to the Aberdeen American News on March 8, 2004. The news article does not specifiy where they were operating from, other than Southwest Asia. The article speculates that maybe the unit was deployed to Diego Garcia, but as this is a B-1B unit, and that B-1Bs have not generally been operating from DG in over year, it is more likely that the unit was operating at Thumrait. Roughly 200 airmen returned. More information to follow.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on March 4, 2004 that the 820th RED HORSE Squadron had returned from Iraq.
The Great Falls Tribune reported on March 2, 2004 that the 819th RED HORSE Squadron deployed to al Udeid in Qatar. Roughly 99 airmen were involved in the deployment.
The 203rd RED HORSE Squadron returned to the United States in October 2003 according to the Virginian-Pilot on October 9, 2003.
The 96th Airlift Squadron returned to the United States in October 2003.
Airmen from the 192nd Airlift Squadron returned in December 2003.

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