XVIII Airborne Corps - "Contingency Corps"
In response to its experience in the Persian Gulf War, the Army designed a set of goals for deploying forces rapidly to regional conflicts. That plan assumes that the United States will have fewer forces abroad in the future than it did during the Cold War. The Army's focus is preparing a five-division contingency corps (with one airborne, two heavy, one air assault, and one light division) that would deploy on short notice and be capable of using force immediately upon entering a region.
Under the Army's 1992 Strategic Mobility Plan, the contingency corps would face a tight delivery schedule, that was revalidated under the Current Force Closure Requirements of the 1997 Bottom Up Review Mobility Requirements Study [MRS BURU]. A ready brigade from a light division would arrive in the region of conflict four days after the start of deployments (C+4), with most of the rest of one Light Division following by C+12. One heavy brigade would be delivered by C+15 under the plan, with two reinforcing Heavy Divisions (one armored plus either one mechanized or one air assault) arriving from CONUS by C+30. The full five-division contingency corps plus a corps-support command would be in place by C+75.
Under the new Army Vision of October 1999, a Brigade Task Force would deploy in 96 hours, the first Division in 120 hrs, and the full five Divisions in 30 days. The Army is investing in industry and technologies to create the objective force, to transform the Army from its current Cold War organization and equipment into a force that better utilizes its full-spectrum capabilities in a more strategically deployable force. The Army will continue to modernize and upgrade the legacy forces -- III Corps, the counterattack corps, and XVIII Airborne Corps, the contingency corps -- as a hedge to fight wars. The Army transformation strategy requires a capable recapitalized legacy force focused on a digitized heavy counterattack corps. The current Army plan is to limit recapitalization to the counterattack corps -- III Corps -- and not the XVIII Airborne Corps, which will be the focus of the Army Vision's transformation efforts.
The XVIII Airborne Corps is superbly trained in tactical operational and strategic levels of war and is capable of exercising the nation's ability to conduct strategic forced entry operations, any where in the world on 18 hours notice. They have been widely recognized as a superbly trained force capable of operating from peace operations to general-purpose war and capable of conducting large-scale joint and combined operations.
Under a new concept called "corps packaging," all of the National Guard's eight combat divisions and 15 enhanced separate brigades will be matched with active-component divisions at the corps level. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki announced this expansion of teaming between active and Guard divisions 14 September 2000 in a speech to the National Guard Association annual conference in Atlantic City, NJ. The XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C., includes these relationships: the 29th division with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.; the 28th division with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.; and New York's 42nd Infantry Division with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. The 24th Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan., which falls under the XVIII Airborne Corps would be aligned with New York's 27th Infantry Brigade, North Carolina's 30th Infantry Brigade, Georgia's 48th Infantry Brigade, Florida's 53rd Infantry Brigade, Indiana's 76th Infantry Brigade and South Carolina's 218th Infantry Brigade.
The XVIII Airborne Corps - the Army's largest warfighting organization - is the only airborne corps in the defense establishment of the United States and exercises control over approximately 88,000 thousand soldiers assigned to the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia; 10th Mountain (Light), Fort Drum, New York, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg; 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky; XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery; 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Polk, Louisiana; 108th Air Defense Artillery, Fort Bliss, Texas; 18th Aviation Brigade; 229th Aviation Regiment; 20th Engineer Brigade; 525th Military Intelligence Brigade; 16th Military Police Brigade; 35th Signal Brigade; 1st Corps Support Command; 44th Medical Brigade; 18th Finance Group; 18th Personnel Group; and Dragon Brigade, all located at Fort Bragg.
The Corps capability for rapid deployment and reputation as the premier power projection force continues to be tested. It's operational tempo remains the highest in the Army and it's resolve as a quick reaction force has been the key to success in numerous crisis.
The XVIII Airborne Corps, with Headquarters at Fort Bragg, was originally activated as the 11 Armored Corps at Camp Polk, Louisiana, January 17, 1942. It was redesignated XVIII Corps October 9, 1943, at the Presidio of Monterey, California. The Corps celebrates it's birthday August 25, 1944, when the blue airborne tab was added at Orbourne, St. George, England. On this same day, the XVIII Airborne Corps assumed command of the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions. Within a month, Major General Matthew B. Ridgway, the first Corps Commander, sent his men into action in Operation Market Garden, the allied invasion of the Netherlands during World War II.
The Corps returned to the United States in late June 1945 and was deactivated October 15, 1945, at Camp Campbell, Kentucky. The XVIII Airborne Corps was reactivated at Fort Bragg on May 21, 1951.
During Operation Power Pack, Dominican Republic, 30 April 1965, the Corps served as the headquarters for US forces personnel sent to restore law and order, prevent a communist takeover of the country, and protect American lives. As part of Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, 25 October 1983, at the request of President Reagan, the Corps provided the bulk of land forces sent to rescue medical students and other stranded Americans and participated with our Caribbean neighbors in an international peacekeeping effort. During Operation Golden Pheasant, Honduras, 1988, when the borders of Honduras were threatened, elements of two Corps divisions exercised a show of force to ensure sovereignty of Honduran territory would be respected. As part of Operation Nimrod Dancer, Panama, 1989, a security reinforcement was sent to protect American citizens, facilities and treaty rights following the elections. In Operation Hawkeye, U.S. Virgin Islands, September 1989, following Hurricane Hugo, the Corps was on the ground, in St. Croix, within 13 hours, with the first elements of a Joint Task Force, to restore law and order, to provide emergency relief, and rebuilding efforts for the devastated island.
During Operation Just Cause, Panama, 20 December 1989, the XVIII Airborne Corps in operational command of Joint Task Force South struck 27 targets simultaneously and conducted two night parachute assaults to seize critical terrain and set the stage for a freely-elected government to be established in the country. During Operation Desert Shield, Saudi Arabia, 9 August 1990, the Corps rapidly deployed as the first ground force in theater to spearhead efforts to deter aggression and assist in the defense of friendly nations, the largest American military deployment since WWII. During Operation Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia, February 1991, the XVIII Airborne Corps launched the first ground assault into Iraq with the 82d Airborne Division and the attached French 6th Light Armored Division, the largest air assault in history by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and an airborne thrust by the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, in less than a 100 hours the Corps had effectively sealed off the occupying Iraqi Army and destroyed major elements of the elite Republican Guard.
During Operation GTMO, Cuba, November 1991, the Corps established a humanitarian support center at Guantanamo Naval Base to receive, transport, detain, control and process Haitian migrants. The Corps quickly began the massive task of building and supporting a humanitarian center for more than 12,000 Haitians. By early December the Corps had deployed over 2,000 soldiers to the Guantanamo Naval Base. The operation officially ended in June 1993. Under Operation Hurricane Andrew, Florida, on 27 August 1992 major units throughout the XVIII Airborne Corps began their deployment to Dade County, Florida, to assist in disaster relief operations in the aftermath of the storm. At peak strength the Corps had 16,000 soldiers deployed to South Florida. The mission of the Corps was to provide immediate emergency relief including food, water, shelter and medical aid. During subsequent phases the Corps conducted debris removal operations, repaired schools, established relief supply distribution centers and assisted the local government in establishing sustained recovery operations. All disaster relief functions were eventually turned over to civilian contractors, and Corps units returned to Fort Bragg by 21 October 1992.
During Operation Restore Hope, Somalia, 13 December 1992, in support of Joint Task Force Somalia, Army forces secured an airfield and key installations, and provided security to ensure safe passage of food and humanitarian supplies throughout the country. As part of Operation Uphold/Maintain Democracy, Haiti, September 1994, to ensure the Haitian Armed Forces compliance with Carter-Cedras accords, protect US citizens, restore civil order, assist in the reorganization of Haitian Armed Forces, and assist in the transition to and maintenance of a democratic government. In Vigilant Warrior, Kuwait, October 1994 , nearly four years after Desert Storm the 24th Infantry Division returned to Kuwait to deter further Iraqi aggression, when Iraqi forces moved south to the border. They withdrew shortly after the arrival of the division.
The XVIII Airborne Corps has deployed countless Corps soldiers to more than twenty-seven countries throughout the world, including, Bosnia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Haiti. From February 1996 to March 1998 the XVIII Airborne Corps has either conducted, participated in, or been the exercise director for over 79 exercises, to include, 25 Joint Exercises involving all of the services. The Corps completed Purple Dragon, one of the most successful and largest Joint Task Force exercises in XVIII Airborne Corps history, consisting of 33,000 sailors, marines, airmen, and soldiers.
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