V Corps

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The V Corps, also known as the Victory Corps, is a corps-level formation of the U.S. Army and the main land component of United States Army Europe. V Corps remains the only permanently forward deployed corps in the U.S. Army.

History

V Corps was established in battle during World War I at Remiremont, France, on July 7, 1918. The corps fought in the Lorraine, St Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. Dubbed the "Victory Corps" in recognition of its rapid advance in the final phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, V Corps returned to the United States in 1919.

Reactivated at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, in October 1940, V Corps took part in the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941, then, in early 1942, deployed to Ireland after the U.S. declared war on Germany, providing the first American soldiers deployed to the European theater in World War II.

On June 6, 1944, V Corps assaulted Omaha Beach, Normandy. Corps soldiers then broke out from the beachhead, liberated Paris and Sedan, and raced to the German border by September 1944. After liberating Luxembourg City, the Corps fought in the Battle of the Bulge, captured Leipzig, made the first contact with the Soviets at Torgau, and liberated Plzen by May 1945.

In 1951, the Corps returned to Germany and defended the Fulda Gap during the Cold War.

After the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, Victory Corps soldiers deployed both units and individuals to Saudi Arabia for Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM; and to other operations in Kuwait, northern Iraq, Croatia, Somalia, Macedonia, Rwanda, and Zaire.

In December 1994, as part of the realignment of U.S. forces, V Corps moved from the historic Abrams Building to Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg, severing a forty-three year tie with Frankfurt.

V Corps reached out to the armed forces of eastern Europe with numerous initiatives to foster closer ties and better understanding. Maintaining the NATO commitment, the Corps in 1994 created two bi-national corps with Germany. For NATO central region missions, V Corps commanded the 13th Panzer Grenadier Division, while II (GE) Korps commanded the U.S. 1st Armored Division.

In December 1995, V Corps deployed 1st Armored Division and elements of six separate brigades for the NATO Implementation Force in Bosnia. The Corps Headquarters, the 3rd Corps Support Command, and the separate brigades helped form the National Support Element headquartered in Hungary for U.S. forces in Bosnia. V Corps Artillery provided the command and control element for Task Force Victory, which commanded rear and other detachments and supported forward operations. Brigades of the two divisions rotated in the peace enforcement mission for a number of years in Bosnia. Headquarters and Headquarters Company, V Corps, was decorated with the Army Superior Unit Award in 1998 in recognition of the unit's performance in Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR.

In April 1999, V Corps deployed the headquarters and subordinate units to Albania as Task Force Hawk, a force involved in the on-going crisis in Kosovo. The 1st Infantry Division served in Kosovo twice and the 1st Armored Division served once, in addition to V Corps separate brigades.

At the end of 2002, V Corps deployed to Kuwait under USCENTCOM command for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The US-led coalition brought about a regime change in Iraq and satisfied international concerns about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs. V Corps and its brigades crossed into Iraq on March 21, 2003 as the main effort. In sixteen days of fighting, V Corps advanced more than 540 miles straight line distance from Kuwait to Baghdad, decisively defeated the Iraqi armed forces, and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

On June 15, 2003, V Corps formed Combined Joint Task Force 7, based in Baghdad, and continued military operations to pacify the remainder of Iraq, rebuild the country, and create democratic institutions. As part of the CJTF-7 mission, V Corps soldiers sought out and arrested or killed the major figures in the Iraqi regime, culminating in the arrest of Saddam Hussein himself. On February 1, 2004, V Corps was succeeded in CJTF-7 by III Corps and redeployed to its home station in Heidelberg, Germany. In recognition of its combat achievements in Iraq, the Department of the Army, in 2004, awarded the V Corps Headquarters and Headquarters Company the Meritorious Unit Citation.

In January 2006, V Corps Headquarters redeployed to Iraq and replaced XVIII Airborne Corps as the command and control element for Multi-National Corps-Iraq. During its second year-long deployment, which ended on December 14, 2006, HQ, V Corps/MNC-I continued to lead coalition forces and made great strides battling a widespread insurgency, conducting a massive rebuilding effort, and paving the way for further democracy in Iraq.

V Corps, having returned to Germany in 2007, was scheduled for inactivation in 2009 as part of U.S. Army Europe's global rebasing, restructuring, and transformation efforts. This scheduled inactivation was initially postponed, then canceled. V Corps manned its first Command Post and deployed it to Afghanistan in the summer of 2009, and deployed its second Command Post element in the summer of 2010. In early 2011, the reconstitution, modularization, and relocation of V Corps to Wiesbaden Army Air Field (WAAF) were accelerated, and V Corps achieved initial operating capability at WAAF on 1 June 2011.

Note: The following is excerpted from GlobalSecurity.org (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/v-corps.htm) and is currently being edited.

The United States began to broadly restructure its forces in Europe beginning in 2005. This was spurred on largely by the Base Realignment and Closure decisions announced in 2005, which included plans to return 11 facilities previously utilized by the US Army in FY07 alone. As a result the structure of V Corps also began to change dramtically in 2005, with many units being either inactivated or realigned assigned to US Army Europe (USAEUR), V Corps' higher headquarters. In 2008, the Department of the Army announced its intention to inactivate V Corps in 2009. On 4 June 2009, the Department of the Army announced that it had delayed, at least for one year, its original intention to inactivate V Corps.

Prior to the restructuring, V Corps mission had been to, operating as a Corps or a heavy Joint Task Force, rapidly deploy as a Contingency Force in support of US European Command (EUCOM) and Central Command (CENTCOM) regional military objectives or in support of NATO and UN military operations, to include Peace Operations. The Corps would also provide trained and ready forces in support of Commanding General, USAREUR / Seventh US Army validated operational requirements.

[V Corps Organization ~2001] Over its history, V Corps soldiers distinguished themselves through 2 World Wars, the Cold War, Desert Storm and Balkan stability operations, as well as numerous humanitarian operations. The modern V Corps was established in battle during World War I at Remiremont, France in July 1918. By the end of the War, the Corps had participated in 3 campaigns. Dubbed the "Victory Corps" in recognition of its rapid advance in the final phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, V Corps returned to the United States in 1919.

V Corps was reactivated at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana in October 1940 and took part in the famous Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941. The organization deployed to Ireland after the United States declared war on Germany, providing the first American soldiers deployed to the European theater in World War II.

On 6 June 1944, V Corps assaulted Omaha Beach, Normandy. Corps soldiers then helped break out from the beachhead, liberated Paris and Sedan, and raced to the German border by September 1944. After liberating Luxembourg City, the Corps successively fought in the Battle of the Bulge, captured Leipzig, made first contact with the Soviets at Torgau, and liberated Pilzen by May 1945.

In 1951, the Corps returned to Germany, where its forces planned and trained to defend the critical Fulda Gap during the Cold War. After the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, Victory Corps soldiers deployed both units and individuals to Saudi Arabia for Operations Desert Shield; to Kuwait and Iraq in Operation Desert Storm; to Kuwait for Operation Positive Force; to northern Iraq for Operation Provide Comfort; to Croatia for Operation Provide Promise; to Somalia for Operation Restore Hope; to Macedonia for Operation Able Sentry; and to Rwanda and Zaire for Operation Support Hope.

In December 1994, as part of the drawdown and realignment of US forces in Europe, the Corps moved its headquarters from the historic C.W. Abrams Building (the former I.G. Farben Building) to Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg, severing a 43 year tie with Frankfurt am Main.

Recognizing the changing circumstances in Europe, V Corps reached out to the armed forces of eastern Europe with assistance and international exercises, such as Partnership for Peace, that foster closer ties and better understanding. Meanwhile, the Corps remained committed to NATO, and in 1994 entered into an arrangement with the Federal Republic of Germany to create 2 bi-national corps. For NATO central region contingency, V Corps would command the 5th Panzer Division, while the German II Korps would command the US 1st Armored Division.

With the inactivation of IX Corps in Japan in September 1995, V Corps became the US Army's only forward-deployed corps, consisting of 2 heavy divisions, a corps support command and 9 separate brigades totaling approximately 41,000 soldiers, 800 civilian employees and over 57,000 family members. V Corps represented the bulk of US Army Europe's combat power and was continuously engaged in the European Command's area of responsibility. At times, fully 25 percent of V Corps was deployed, making it one of the busiest units in the Army.

In December 1995, V Corps deployed its 1st Armored Division and major elements of 6 separate brigades for the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) in support of the Dayton Peace Agreement for Bosnia. Furthermore, the Corps headquarters, the 3rd Corps Support Command, and the separate brigades helped form the USAREUR (Forward) and 21st Theater Army Area Command (Forward) (TAACOM Forward) headquarters in Hungary, which provided the National Support Element for US forces in Bosnia. Moreover, V Corps Artillery provided the command and control element for Task Force Victory, which commanded rear detachments, non-deploying units, and supported forward operations. The Corps deployed portions of its 1st Infantry Division and 11th Aviation Brigade to serve in the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia.

Within hours of the June 1999 peace agreement, V Corps units deployed into Kosovo as part of a 1st Infantry Division lead initial entry force. Once in Kosovo, they ensured the safe return of Kosovar refugees while providing a buffer between retreating Serb forces and Kosovo Liberation Army rebels. Dubbed Task Force Falcon, the US contribution to the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), subsequently transitioned to stability operations. From June 1999 to June 2000, roughly 5,900 soldiers, mostly from the 1st Infantry Division, performed this complex and hazardous mission. After assuming the mission in June 2000, soldiers from the 1st Armored Division continued to materially improve the daily lives of Serb and Albanian Kosovars alike.

V Corps was not only heavily involved with the missions in the Balkans, but also deployed to conduct other out-of-sector missions, military-to-military exchange programs and Partnership for Peace (PFP) exercises. From Norway to Romania, V Corps units participated in 7 PFP exercises during FY00. From January 1999 to August 1999, V Corps' 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade provided Patriot air defense coverage to Turkey in support of European Command's continuing mission known as Operation Northern Watch. Over the year, additional 69th ADA Brigade Patriot units were called on to support Central Command's Operation Provide Cover in Kuwait.

Under a new concept called "corps packaging," all of the National Guard's 8 combat divisions and 15 enhanced separate brigades were to 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 on 14 September 2000 in a speech to the National Guard Association annual conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 35th Infantry Division, Kansas National Guard, would fall under V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany along with the 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), Louisiana National Guard and the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee National Guard.

In looking to the future, V Corps had also undertaken 2 key initiatives. First was the establishment of an Immediate Ready Force (IRF) consisting of a Heavy Immediate Ready Company (HIRC) and 5 complimenting Force Enhancement Modules (FEMs). The HIRC was deployable within 48 hours and provided V Corps a quick reaction force to assist early entry forces as a follow-on force multiplier providing the superior firepower and protection of Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. The 5 FEMs consisted of a command and control package, an M113 infantry company, an HMMWV scout platoon, an engineer platoon and a military police platoon. In order to increase flexibility and reduce deployment times, all FEMs were designed to be deployable by C-130 aircraft.

The second initiative was the complete redesign of the V Corps main command post. The newly designed command post was tent-based and completely modular. It capitalized on the latest technology to greatly improve the command post's efficiency while reducing the C-17/C-5 airlift requirement by over 80 percent. The V Corps' goal was to make the command post entirely C-130 deployable. The command post configuration that had been developed was 80 percent C-130 deployable. The new design made it ideally suited to effectively perform the demanding command and control functions required for conventional corps operations or those of Joint/Combined operations.

In October 2002, the Heidelberg, Germany-based V Corps headquarters was on its way to Kuwait, along with a battalion of Apache helicopters and a corps-level Marine command post. The 1st Infantry Division was faced with 6 months of retraining before the first units would be available for combat deployment. That left the Germany-based 1st Armored Division and 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate) in Italy, as well as smaller units, like 1-4th Cavalry and long-range surveillance paratroopers with E Company, 51st Infantry Regiment, as the only other ground combat units from among the Army's rosters in Europe available for any potential tasking to what was then referred to as Gulf War II.

In 2005, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure decisions, the draw down of US forces in Europe, which had started after the reunification of Germany and the fall of the Soviet Union, became more pronounced. The 5th Panzer Division had already been disbanded by the German Bundeswehr in 2001. In 2006, the 12th Aviation Brigade was reorganized and redesiganted as the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. In Summer 2006, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment moved to Germany and was assigned to V Corps.

In 2008, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division was inactivated, and reactivated in Fort Riley, Kansas, as the last major element of the 1st Infantry Division to relocate. In Germany, the unit was reflagged as the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate). In 2009, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was inactivated and reactivated at Fort Bliss, Texas, to join the other 3 brigades of the 1st Armored Division. In Germany, the unit was reflagged as the 170th Infantry Brigade (Separate). This change had initially been planned for September 2010. As of July 2010, the major elements of the 1st Armored Division had relocated to Fort Bliss, Texas, while the 1st Armored Division Headquarters remained in Germany.

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