The Associated Press reported on New Years Eve that the Pentagon had ordered the Army's 3rd Infantry Division from its bases in Georgia to set sail for Kuwait in the next few weeks. "3ID", as it's known in the Army, already has one brigade of roughly 4,000 soldiers on the ground in Kuwait. The deployment of the division's two additional brigades, plus its divisional headquarters and support structure, represents a major step in the march towards a ground war. In relative terms, it's easy to move an airborne or light-infantry force to the Gulf -- you can do it by air. Moving a heavy division like 3ID requires an extraordinary logistical effort -- ships, aircraft, trains, etc. It's also very costly. The U.S. does not deploy heavy divisions unless it intends to send a clear message that it's seriously preparing for war.
Infantry Div. Ordered to Gulf
WASHINGTON (AP) --An infantry division from Georgia has been ordered to the Persian Gulf region as a part of the military's preparations for war with Iraq, military officials said Tuesday.
The troops, from the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), received prepare-to-deploy orders earlier this week, Army officials said. A defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed they were going to the Persian Gulf region as a part of the U.S. military's buildup of forces there.
It is the largest single ground force sent to the region since the Bush administration indicated its willingness to go to war against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein more than a year ago.
The division's 2nd Brigade - several thousand soldiers based at Fort Stewart, Ga. - is already in Kuwait on a regular troop rotation, officials said.
The division's 1st and 3rd Brigades, from Fort Stewart and Fort Benning, Ga., respectively, and its aviation brigade, from Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Ga., will begin moving to the region in the coming weeks. Officials declined to provide their precise destination. All told, between 15,000 and 17,000 soldiers from the division will go to the region, officials said.