The XVIII Airborne Corps is the corps size element of the
United States Army designed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world.
Referred to as "America's Contingency Corps," it is the largest warfighting
organization in the U.S. Army. It is headquartered at Fort Bragg, North
Carolina and controls approximately 88,000 soldiers.
Currently assigned to the Eighteenth Corps is the 3rd
Infantry Division, 10th Mountain, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, XVIII
Airborne Corps Artillery, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 108th Air
Defense Artillery, the 18th Aviation Brigade, the 229th Aviation Regiment, the
20th Engineer Brigade, the 525 Military Intelligence Brigade, the 16th Military
Police Brigade, the 35th Signal Brigade, the 1st Corps Support Command, the
44th Medical Brigade, the 18th Finance Group, the 18th Personnel Group, and the
The XVIII Airborne Corps was originally activated as the
II Armored Corps on January 17, 1942. When the armored corps concept proved
unnecessary, the unit was re-designated as the XVIII Corps at the Presidio of
Monterey, California on October 9, 1943.
current XVIII Airborne Corps celebrates its birthday as August 25, 1944 when
the blue airborne tab was added. On that day in Orbourne, St. George, England,
the XVIII Airborne Corps assumed command of the 82nd and 101st Airborne
Divisions. Within a month the Corps sent their divisions onto a combat jump in
the Netherlands for Operation Market Garden.
After the Battle of the Bulge all airborne units in the
U.S. Army were placed under the command of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The Corps
planned and executed Operation Varsity, the crossing of the Rhine River into
Germany, which included the 17th Airborne Division and the British 6th Airborne
Division. The Sky Dragons were returned to the United States in June of 1945
and deactivated at Camp Campbell, Kentucky on October 15, 1945.
The XVIII Airborne Corps was reactivated at Fort Bragg,
North Carolina on May 21, 1951 as part of the army buildup for Korea and the
Cold War. Ever since, the XVIII Airborne Corps has been the primary strategic
response force for the United States. The Corps and its various subordinate
units have participated in over a dozen major operations in both the combat and
During Operation Power Pack the Corps deployed to the
Dominican Republic on April 30, 1965. The Sky Dragons served as the
headquarters for U.S. forces sent to restore law and order, prevent a communist
takeover of the country, and to protect American lives. For Operation Urgent
Fury, which began on October 25, 1983, the XVIII Airborne Corps invaded the
island nation of Grenada. The Corps provided the bulk of land forces sent to
rescue medical students and other stranded Americans. In this operation the
Corps participated with our Caribbean allies in an international peacekeeping
During Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama on
December 20, 1989, the XVIII Airborne Corps was placed in operational command
of Joint Task Force South. The Operation simultaneously struck twenty-seven
targets and conducted town night parachute assaults to seize critical terrain.
Operation Just Cause set the stage for a freely elected government to be
established in the country.
Operation Desert Shield began on August 9, 1990. The XVIII
Airborne Corps rapidly deployed to Saudi Arabia as the first ground force in
theater to spearhead efforts to deter aggression and assist in the defense of
friendly nations. This was the largest deployment of American troops since
WWII. The Persian Gulf War started with Operation Desert Storm in February of
1991. The Sky Dragons were responsible for covering VII Corps' northern flank.
The XVIII Airborne Corp launched the first ground assault into Iraq with the
82nd Airborne Division and the attached French 6th Light Armored Division. The
largest, and farthest, air assault in history was conducted by the 101st
Airborne Division (Air Assault). A mounted attack was also made by the 24th
Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. In less
than 100 hours the XVIII Airborne Corps had effectively sealed off the
occupying Iraqi Army and destroyed major elements of the elite Republican
During the 1990s the XVIII Airborne Corps has deployed
countless Corps soldiers to more than twenty-seven countries that include
Bosnia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Haiti. They have also directed
countless Joint Exercises that involve all of the services.
The XVIII Airborne Corps' most recent deployments have
been in support of America's Global War on Terrorism, Operation Iraqi Freedom
and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. From January 2005 through
January 2006, the Corps was deployed to Baghdad, where it served as the
Multi-National-Corps-Iraq. The Sky Dragons deployed again to Iraq in November
The XVIII Airborne Corps is superbly trained in tactical,
operational, and strategic levels of war. They are capable of exercising the
nation's ability to conduct strategic forced entry operations anywhere in the
world on 18 hours notice. Those soldiers and veterans who have worn the Sky
Dragon shoulder patch are a proud group of men and women who truly served their
country on the cutting edge.
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