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KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait — Additional troops are arriving from the United States, continuing a buildup in the region unequaled since the Persian Gulf War.

The latest group of soldiers began arriving Wednesday via charter flights at an air base near Kuwait City’s international airport. Most are elements of the 3rd Infantry Division, which already has its 2nd Brigade here and plans to deploy two additional brigades.

Eventually, the mechanized division will have around 17,000 troops here. About 12,000 U.S. troops already are in Kuwait.

Army spokesmen declined to detail the exact number of additional troops that have arrived or when the deployment will be complete.

News reports from the division’s headquarters at Fort Stewart, Ga., said troops began flowing out of Fort Benning, Ga., on Monday. Division commander Maj. Gen. Buford Blount returned to Georgia from Kuwait to see the soldiers off.

The division is expected to lead the fight if the United States engages in war with Iraq, where U.N. weapons inspectors are searching for weapons of mass destruction. The inspectors were to present an interim report to the United Nations on Thursday.

The new 3rd ID troops picked up additional equipment at Camp Doha near Kuwait City as part of their in-processing to other desert camps, 3rd ID spokesman Maj. Mike Birmingham said Thursday.

A half-dozen tent cities are in place in the desert in northern Kuwait.

Also expected in Kuwait in the coming weeks are members of the 94th Engineer Combat Battalion from Vilseck, Germany, and other members of the Heidelberg, Germany-based V Corps.

Marine and Navy forces also are making their way into the Persian Gulf region and a number of Reserve units have been called up to come to the Gulf or supplement forces at home stations.


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