The Middle East tends to be the first answer that comes to mind when we think of where the U.S. sends its young men and women who enlist. However by the end of 2014, only one middle eastern country made the cut for top five countries with active U.S. military personnel.
According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, a division of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the majority of troops are stationed in countries like Japan and Germany as a WWII legacy, in contrast to the troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries like Kuwait supporting the war effort, which are classified separately as Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) Deployments.
Although the last military personnel left Iraq on December 18th of 2011, the exodus of troops is not reflected until 2012 because these totals are a snapshot of how many military personnel are stationed in each country in September of that year. Unsurprisingly, these totals also omit any special or covert forces.