Three years after Baghdad fell, the Navy is poised to dramatically increase the number of sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan, filling gaps in Army and Marine Corps units.
The seamen, called "individual augmentees," support ground operations thousands of miles from the nearest port, in deployments that can be far different from the Navy's traditional role.
New requests for Navy personnel in the Middle East and Afghanistan are coming in weekly. There are 4,000 sailors in Iraq — a number that is expected to increase to 5,000 in the next few months. It is unclear how many more sailors will be called to serve ashore by the end of the year.
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