WASHINGTON — The Pentagon activated 39,000 more reservists Wednesday, intensifying a military buildup toward possible war with Iraq that now includes about 150,000 Reserve and National Guard forces deployed in the United States and abroad.
Some of the part-time soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines called to full-time duty will join nearly 130,000 military personnel already in the Persian Gulf, but it remained unclear how many.
The call-ups to date account for about 12% of the nation's 1.2 million guard and reserve members. They consist of 113,751 Army, 6,276 Navy, 15,704 Air Force, 12,539 Marine and 1,982 Coast Guard Reserve and National Guard forces.
The size of the latest call-up, which includes about 5,000 Californians, surprised some military analysts.
"It is a substantially larger reserve component call-up than I had anticipated," said John Pike, a military analyst for GlobalSecurity.org.
"What remains unclear is how much of that call-up is going to be for homeland security purposes, how much is to support the initial attack on Iraq and how much is for potential deployment to Iraq for postwar stability and support operations."