Patch and Distinctive Unit Insignia
The XVIII Airborne Corps is the corps of the United States Army designed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world. It is referred to as "America's Contingency Corps" and is the Army's largest warfighting organization. As of 2004[update], it consists of approximately 88,000 soldiers in four divisions. Its headquarters are at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
World War II
The corps was first activated on January 17, 1942 as the II Armored Corps at Camp Polk in Louisiana. When the concept of Armored Corps proved unnecessary, II Armored Corps was redesignated as XVIII Corps on October 9, 1943 at the Presidio of Monterey, California.
XVIII Corps deployed to Europe on August 17, 1944 and became the XVIII Airborne Corps on August 25, 1944 at Osbourne, St. George, England, assuming command of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions, as part of the preparation for Operation Market Garden.
Major General Matthew B. Ridgway commanded the corps, which then consisted of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division and was part of the First Allied Airborne Army. Following the Battle of the Bulge, all airborne units in the U.S. Army fell under the command of the corps. XVIII Airborne Corps planned and executed Operation Varsity, the crossing of the Rhine river into Germany. It was one of the largest airborne operations in World War II, including the 17th Airborne Division and the British 6th Airborne Division. The 13th Airborne Division was to participate in the assault, however due to a lack of a sufficient number of transports, it was unable to take part. The XVIII Airborne Corps returned to the U.S. in June 1945 and deactivated on October 15th 1945 at Camp Campbell, Kentucky.
Cold War to Desert Storm
The Corps was reactivated at Fort Bragg on May 21, 1951 under the command of Major General John W. Leonard. Since then, the Corps has been the primary strategic response force, with subordinate units participating in over a dozen major operations (Listed Below) in both combat and humanitarian roles, primarily in Central America and the CENTCOM area of responsibility. In 1991, XVIII Airborne Corps participated in the Persian Gulf War. The Corps was responsible for securing VII Corps' northern flank against a possible Iraqi counterattack. Along with the 24th Infantry Division, 82nd and 101st, XVIII Airborne Corps also gained operational control of the French 6th Light Division (which also included units from the French Foreign Legion).
Main article: Transformation of the United States Army
XVIII Airborne Corps was most recently deployed, from January 2005 to January 2006, to Baghdad, Iraq, where it served as the Multi-National-Corps-Iraq. Following its return, XVIII Airborne Corps and its subordinate units began the process of modernization and reorganization.
Under the previous Army Chief of Staff's future restructure of the Army, the corps headquarters of the XVIII Airborne Corps will lose its Airborne (specifically parachute) certification as a cost-cutting measure—the same will occur to the divisional headquarters of 82nd Airborne Division. This plan is designed to follow the U.S. Army's restructuring plan to go from being division-based to brigade-based. This will mean that the largest units that will be Airborne—specifically parachute certified—will be at the brigade level. Even so, for traditional and historical reasons, the formation will continue to be called the XVIII Airborne Corps.
The divisions that fall under the XVIII Airborne Corps (as well as the other two corps in the Army) are in a period of transition, shifting from corps control to fall directly under FORSCOM, eliminating the corps status as a middle man. This ties in with the Army's broad modularity plan, as a corps can deploy and support any unit, not just the units subordinate to the corps. The 3rd Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) have already changed over to FORSCOM control. The 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) will transfer after the division returns from Afghanistan, as will the 82nd Airborne Division, following its deployment.
In August 2006, XVIII Airborne Corps traveled to South Korea to participate in Ulchi Focus Lens, a joint training exercise between the Republic of Korea Army and coalition forces stationed there.
In mid-April, 2007, the Department of the Army confirmed the next OIF deployment schedule, with XVIII Airborne Corps deploying to relieve III Corps as the MNC-I at Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq. XVIII Airborne Corps is scheduled to replace III Corps in November, 2007. The Corps will deploy along with 1st Armored Division and 4th Infantry Division, as well as 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and 1st BCT, 82nd Airborne Division.
Definition from Wikipedia
OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS
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