18th Fires Brigade (Airborne)
18th Field Artillery Brigade (Airborne)
The mission of the 18th Fires Brigade is to provide fire support to XVIII Corps (Airborne) forces, anywhere in the world, on short notice, by land, sea, or air.
The 18th Fires Brigade was first constituted on 1 October 1943 in the Army of the United States as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, XVIII Corps Artillery and activated on 9 October 1943 at Camp Cooke, California. XVIII Corps Artillery participated in 3 campaigns during the Second World War: Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. After the end of the Second World War, the unit was inactivated on 15 October 1945 at Camp Cooke, California.
The unit was redesignated on 1 May 1951 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery and allotted to the Regular Army. It was activated on 21 May 1951 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1956, it was organized with 2 field artillery groups and a field artillery observer battalion. From 1956 to 1969, Corps Artillery went to a series of reorganizations, activating battalions, and deploying them to Vietnam. The unit's Headquarters and Headquarters Battery was never deployed. In 1969, the Corps Artillery began to take form and consisted of 3 cannon battalions. These units were the 1st Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment; 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment; and 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment.
On 16 September 1978, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 18th Field Artillery Brigade. The 3 battalions of the Brigade turned in their M114 Howitzers and received the M198 Howitzers. On 16 April 1984, B Battery (Target Acquisition), 26th Field Artillery Regiment joined the Brigade bringing with it the new AN/TPQ-36 Radar.
In March 1987, under the Army of Excellence initiative, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery was reconstituted and activated as a separate unit from 18th Field Artillery Brigade. Assigned to it was the 18th Field Artillery Brigade and the 1st Field Artillery Detachment (Target Acqusition). In March 1988, the organization of XVIII Corps Artillery was completed when the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment was activated as part of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade to provide the Corps with Long Range Multiple Launch Rocket System fires.
By 2000, the 18th Field Artillery Brigade was the only airborne general support field artillery brigade in the United States Army. The mission of the Brigade was to deploy designated artillery packages via parachute assault, air land, or over the shore to deliver conventional cannon, rocket, and missile fires in support of XVIII Corps world wide combat operations and crises response contingency missions.
The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 16 June 2007 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 18th Fires Brigade. Also in 2007, XVIII Corps Artillery was inactivated and the 18th Fires Brigade was reassigned directly to XVIII Corps. As part of the reorganization, the 1st Battalion, 377th Field Artillery was reassigned to the 17th Fires Brigade, I Corps, while the unit also activated the 188th Brigade Support Battalion and the 206th Signal Company. A brigade level target acqusition battery, D Battery, 26th Field Artillery, was also assigned. On 16 July 2008, the 18th Fires Brigade fell under 82nd Airborne Division for training and readiness, though it remained technically subordinate to XVIII Corps.
In February 2010, the 18th Fires Brigade provided support for the XVIII Corps headquarters and 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division when those units began their rapid deployment to Haiti, as part of the disaster response following the devastating earthquake. Alerted in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, 18th Fires Brigade troops worked around the clock, guarding key nodes throughout Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base and rigging supplies for airdrops and air movement.
In March 2010, the Brigade headquarters traveled to the Republic of Korea and represented the XVIII Corps during the exercise Key Resolve.
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