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Thousands Of N.C. Troops Are Part Of Force On Iraqi Soil

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Officials say troops from North Carolina are part of the force now on Iraqi soil.

Special Forces from Fort Bragg have been in that country for weeks if not months. Fort Bragg has the biggest deployment so far in the Gulf Region. Officials say more than 14,000 soldiers, plus an unspecified number of Special Forces.

More than 1,000 airmen from Pope Air Force Base are deployed, mainly as transportation for Bragg troops. Officials say about 1,000 airmen from Seymour Johnson are within striking range of Iraq. Those airmen fly the F-15 Strike Eagle, considered one of the most advanced fighter jets in the military's arsenal.

Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point will not release specific numbers, but they said about 14,000 Marines from the Carolinas are now in the arena.

Officials say more than 1,600 National Guard troops from North Carolina are deployed so far and more than 5,000 are on alert. Of those National Guard units that are deployed, three are based in Morrisville, another is based in Durham and one is based in Siler City.