View Full Version : U.S. Plans for Marines to Return to Iraq

11-05-03, 09:56 PM
Posted on Wed, Nov. 05, 2003

U.S. Plans for Marines to Return to Iraq
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Marine Corps, which played a central role in toppling Saddam Hussein last spring, will return to Iraq as part of a U.S. troop rotation approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Wednesday, officials said.

Since the Marines' departure from Iraq in September, the military effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq has fallen almost entirely to the Army, plus multinational units led by Britain and Poland.

The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit recently began anti-smuggling operations in the Persian Gulf coastal area in southern Iraq. But no Marines have been doing stability operations, such as working with Iraqi civilians on rebuilding projects or hunting for fugitives loyal to Saddam, since the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force departed south-central Iraq in September.

Also included in the next U.S. rotation will be thousands of newly mobilized National Guard and Reserve troops as well as active duty Army units such as the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, and the 1st Infantry Division in Germany, according to officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.

No National Guard combat brigades will be called on, beyond the three already mobilized from North Carolina, Arkansas and Washington state to prepare for deployment to Iraq next year. The extra Guard and Reserve troops to be mobilized will be combat support forces such as military police.

Instead of relying almost exclusively on the Army to provide reserve forces for support, the Pentagon intends to mobilize specialists from the reserve components of the Air Force and Navy, too.

On Capitol Hill, Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said troop orders were being issued Wednesday and Pentagon officials planned to publicly release details on Thursday.

Pace said members of Congress were being briefed on the plan Wednesday. He declined to give reporters details.

Pace said that by May the Pentagon expects to have just over 100,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, a drop of 30,000 from present levels. The Pentagon also hopes to have about 170,000 Iraqi security forces by then - compared with about 100,000 now - and two multinational divisions of about 12,000 each.

The Pentagon has struggled to set the troop rotation for 2004 because of the Bush administration's inability so far to persuade its international partners to contribute significant troops. Turkey had offered to send thousands but has balked in the face of Iraqi political opposition.

The Army has shouldered most of the burden of attempting to stabilize Iraq. It has been stretched thin by multiple overseas commitments, including anti-terrorism efforts Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

The first major Army unit to be replaced in Iraq next year is the 101st Airborne Division, which played an important role in the march to Baghdad and has operated mainly in northern Iraq since then.

When the Army announced in July an outline for the next troop rotation, it said the 101st would be replaced by a multinational division to be identified later. Because that international force has not materialized, the Pentagon has been forced to call on other U.S. forces to fill the gap.

It appears the Pentagon will replace the 101st with a smaller group of forces, in part because the area in which it operated - northern Iraq - has been relatively stable and peaceful.

Some units that will return home in the next rotation will not be replaced. This includes a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, as well as the 173rd Airborne Brigade. As a result, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq is likely to fall to near the 100,000 mark next spring. That compares with about 130,000 there now.

Also coming home in the next rotation will be the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, and the 1st Armored Division from Germany.




11-05-03, 10:05 PM
The U.S. is really going to see what happens when you tick off a bunch of Marines. Not even a year after we pull out, they send us back in, there is going to be allot of anger and discontent over there. The Marines are going to let those Iraqi's have it one way or the other!!!

11-05-03, 11:08 PM
I don't think the head shed understands the concept of the Marine Corps. We are not an occupying force, that is why there are Marines in the embassies around the world. We fight wars and win battles, do peacekeeping duties for short periods of time, and perform humanitarian missions when called upon.

11-06-03, 02:09 PM
Release # 1106-03-1334


WASHINGTON--The Marine Corps is preparing to send units to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 (OIF-2) and Operation Enduring Freedom 5 (OEF-5) respectively.

The Corps' contribution of forces for OIF-2 will be approximately 21,000 Marines and Sailors. Marines participating in OEF-5 will be one infantry battalion, which will bring the total number of Marine forces in Afghanistan to approximately 1,000.

The current plan is to send a division-sized Marine Air Ground Task Force to Iraq with the preponderance of units coming from the I Marine Expeditionary Force, headquartered at Camp Pendleton, Calif. These forces will primarily replace the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

Marine units, as always, will deploy with their full complement of combat capabilities. Marine forces will primarily deploy to Iraq in two 7-month rotations. The first rotation is expected to be from March to September of 2004. The second rotation is expected to be from September 2004 to March 2005.

There will be approximately 21,000 Marines in each 7-month rotation. The reserve component of the first 7-month rotation will be approximately 1,500 Marines and the second rotation will be approximately 4,500.

In support of OEF-5 the Marine Corps will send an infantry battalion from the 2nd Marine Division to Afghanistan for a planned seven-month deployment.

The Marine Corps always has forces forward deployed and is currently supporting other commitments around the globe, such as the recurring Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments and the Unit Deployment program in Okinawa and Iwakuni, Japan.

In light of those commitments, the Marine Corps is looking closely at how to strike an effective balance between those and the OIF-2 and OEF-5 missions. Marine Corps leadership feels this rotation cycle is best when considering operational readiness, unit morale and family separations. Most importantly, it will allow the Marine Corps to accomplish the mission in Iraq while sustaining other commitments in Afghanistan and around the globe.

The Marine Corps' role in Operation Iraqi Freedom-2 and Enduring Freedom-5 is another example of the Marine Corps' continuing importance to the conduct of national security missions, by providing combatant commanders the forces required to effectively prosecute the Global War on Terrorism.



11-06-03, 07:18 PM
Bad Move, extending our (USMC) responsibilites does not make sense. Landing and terminating all that moves is a better senario! Safer and a lot more enjoyable.


11-06-03, 07:23 PM
Pentagon outlines new Iraq rotation plan

By Sandra Jontz and Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Friday, November 7, 2003

ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S. Marines who fought to topple Saddam Hussein will be heading back to Iraq in the second phase of the Pentagon’s rotation plan.

Roughly 21,300 Marines, the majority coming from the 1st Marine Division and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, both from California, and elements of the 2nd Marine Division in North Carolina, have been committed for the yearlong deployment and will rotate into country in two phases beginning as early as January, said Marine Lt. Gen. Jan Huly, deputy commandant for plans, policy and operation. Of those, about 6,000 are Reserve Marines who will be phased in.

The Marines will replace soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne, now operating around Fallujah, west of Baghdad, he said.

In all, about 118,000 active, Reserve and Guard combat and combat support troops have been or soon will be alerted for mobilization to the theater under what is called calling “Operation Iraqi Freedom 2,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. Of those, 85,000 are active and 43,000 are Guard and Reserve units set to replace those who will begin rotating home between January and April.

By May, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq will decrease from 130,000 now, of whom 102,000 are active duty and 28,000 are reservists, to about 105,000, with 39,000 of those reservists, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Norton Schwartz, director for operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The plans call for reducing the four divisions and 17 brigade equivalents in Iraq to three divisions and 13 brigades, Rumsfeld said during a briefing.

The mass rotations in Iraq will begin in January, and is scheduled to be complete in May, Schwartz said.

The composition of the forces going into Iraq for OIF 2 is different from the current mix. For example, there are more infantry troops coming in, and fewer armor units, he said.

Some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have called for an increase of U.S. troops in Iraq.

McCain sharply criticized the administration in a Wednesday speech, saying the United States should send at least 15,000 more troops or risk “the most serious American defeat on the global stage since Vietnam,” USA Today reported Thursday.

But Rumsfeld defended the Pentagon’s position to gradually reduce the troop number, citing that no military leaders from Central Command have come to him requesting an increase in U.S. forces, Rumsfeld said.

“I have not been told of a single U.S. commander who is recommending additional U.S. forces. Not one,” Rumsfeld said.

Moreover, the number of Iraqi security forces continues to grow. There are now 118,000 Iraqis working as members of the police force, border patrol, site security and the new Iraqi army, Rumsfeld said.

Like their predecessors, the reserve troops mobilized under OIF 2 can expect to spend at least a year actually in Iraq, with additional time mobilizing and demobilizing in the United States.

The rotational schedule is being worked so that reserve and Guard units are mobilized for a maximum of 18 months, with a maximum of 12 months “boots on ground,” Rumsfeld said.

On the Marine side, they’re working toward a maximum 12-month mobilization with seven of those spent in Iraq, he said.

Already, soldiers from several National Guard brigades have been gearing up for a deployment to Iraq. Three of the Army’s Enhanced Separate Brigades — the 39th Infantry Brigade from Arkansas, 30th Infantry Brigade from North Carolina, and 81st Infantry Brigade from Washington — are slated to rotate into Iraq next year.

The 4th Infantry Division, now deployed in Iraq along with the Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, are leaving in the spring, as are the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division.

The 30,000 troops of the 1st Armor Division, now in Baghdad, will return to Germany gradually, beginning in February and ending in April.

The 101st Airborne Division, which is based in northern Iraq, is also leaving. The 101st originally was slated to be replaced by multinational forces that have not materialized.

Coming into Iraq will be the 2nd and 3rd brigades of the Würzburg, Germany-based 1st Infantry Division, with the rotation scheduled to take place in March and April.

The 2nd Brigade is headquartered in Schweinfurt, while the 3rd Brigade is headquartered at Rose Barracks, Vilseck. Elements of the 1st ID’s 4th Brigade, which is the division’s aviation brigade, will also be headed for Iraq. The 4th is headquartered in Katterbach.

The Fort Riley, Kan.-based 1st Brigade of the 1st ID — which is the only part of the division not based in Germany — is already in Iraq and will be leaving in the spring, Army spokeswoman Ali Bettencourt said Thursday.

The 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, and the Army’s new Stryker Brigade, the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, will also be deployed in OIF 2.

The Stryker Brigade is already starting to move from its home base in Washington state.

The 1st Marine Division will be joined by a brigade of about 7,000 soldiers from the Army’s 25th Infantry Division, which is based in Hawaii.

On Thursday, lawmakers who recently visited Iraq said they trust judgment of senior military leadership when it comes to determining how many troops are needed in Iraq.

“I have yet to have a military person tell me they need more people,” said U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas. “We ought to be reluctant to override their judgment.”

Afghanistan changes

In Afghanistan, the 10th Mountain Division, who arrived in August, will come out of country after serving a nine-month rotation, an increase from the six months that Army leaders said troops deployed there would serve.

They are slated to leave in May, and will be replaced by elements of the 25th Infantry Division.

Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment from the 2nd Marine Division are slated to arrive in Afghanistan to serve a nine-month rotation. They are to be replaced by a yet-to-be-identified Marine or coalition battalion.

— Stars and Stripes



11-06-03, 07:45 PM
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