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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 408-04
May 04, 2004

Secretary of Defense Approves Iraq Troop Deployment

The Secretary of Defense approved the deployment of approximately 10,000 servicemembers to replace elements of 1st Armored Division and 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment that were extended in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The major units involved in this deployment are the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and the 11th and 24th Marine Expeditionary Units. Various units from the Army National Guard and Reserve are included in the deployment. Additional units will be identified to complete the force that will replace the 1st Armored Division and 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment and other coalition forces. The overall U.S. troop strength in Iraq will be stabilized at approximately 138,000 as requested by the combatant commander.

Additionally, the secretary approved the deployment of 37,000 combat support and combat service support servicemembers to Iraq. These forces were previously notified, and are part of the normal rotations being conducted this year. There will be a phased rotation into and out of the Central Command area of operations to provide a maximum overlap for the affected units.

All Army National Guard and Reserve units being deployed will be given sufficient time to train in preparation for their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mobilized forces could be deployed for up to 12 months in theater. The total length of mobilization is dependent upon training requirements and the requirements of the Central Command commander. The current rotation notification process allows the military to provide trained and ready units to the combatant commanders, and the maximum notification possible for our service members, their families, employers and communities.

The Department of Defense will continue to release information regarding the deployment of units in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as they are identified.