Fort Bragg is situated off west of Fayetteville in North Carolina in the United States, a community boasting of heroes, history, and hometown feelings. For over half a century, the fort was proudly the home of the finest fighting forces in the country, one of which was XVIII Airborne Corps. Established in 1942 at the Camp Polk in Louisiana, the XVII Airborne Corps was first called the II Armored Corps. It took on the name XVII Corps in 1943 and went on to assume command of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions in 1944. That day in 1944, August 25, was considered to be the anniversary date of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Fort Bragg retains its reputation until today for supporting cultural diversity and offering excellent military presence, standing tall as a part of Fayettevilles past, present, and future.
Map of Fort Bragg
Much of what Fort Bragg has achieved can be tied down to the efforts of the XVIII Airborne Corps so in highlighting the military base, it is just as important to focus on the corps that called it home. Developed for rapid deployment wherever needed around the globe, the XVII Airborne Corps is a US Army corps group known as Americas Contingency Corps. It is also the largest organization in the army put together for fighting war, with 45,000 soldiers in a division and five brigades as of 2009.
For a better understanding of the XVIII Airborne Corps, a look into the groups history is in order. As mentioned before, the XVII Airborne Corps was known before as the II Armored Corps. When the idea of an Armored Corps was no longer relevant, the group was re-designated to be known as the XVIII Corps at the Presidio of Monterey in California. It was in August 25, 1944 that the group officially became known as the XVIII Airborne Corps when they were deployed to Europe. The assumption of command over the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions in Osbourne, St. George in England was part of preparing for Operation Market Garden.
Heading the corps was Major General Matthew Ridgeway. Under his command were the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions, considered to be members of the First Allied Airborne Army. After the Battle of the bulge, all of the airborne units of the US Army were turned over to be commanded by the corps. After Operation Market Garden came the Operation Varsity, planned and executed by the XVIII Airborne Corps. Operation Varsity was also more easily known as the time the Rhine River was crossed to reach Germany. During the Second World War, Operation Varsity was one of the biggest airborne operations seen, including the British 6th Airborne Division and the 17th Airborne Division. The 13th Airborne Division was also supposed to go down in history as one of the participants in one of the biggest airborne operations of the time but insufficient transport options stopped them from taking part. After the XVIII Airborne Corps went back to US soil in June of 1945, it was deactivated a few months after in October in Kentucky at Camp Campbell.
The XVIII Airborne Corps saw action again in 1951 when the corps was reactivated under the leadership of Major General John Leonard. Ever since they were reactivated, the corps was considered to be the main strategic response force for the army, with subordinate units taking part in more than a dozen operations, both humanitarian and combative in nature. These major operations were mainly in the CENTCOM area of responsibility and Central America. Fast forward to 1991, the XVIII Airborne Corps took part in the Persian Gulf War, taking responsibility for securing the northern flanks of the VII Corps against potential counterattacks from the Iraqis. Control over the operations of the French 6th Light Division was also achieved, which also included some units sent by the French Foreign Legion. Until at least the year 2007, the XVIII Airborne Corps has been maneuvering through various campaigns in an effort to keep the peace. For instance, the corps Fort Bragg is proud of aided in the success of the elections in Iraq wherein over 12 million Iraqis poured in, even at the risk of death, to cast their votes.
Fort Bragg has seen a lot of history with the XVIII Airborne Division. The army base itself has a lot of history but it also helps in preserving what the corps has been through by having several museums on site. For starters, theres one for the 82nd Airborne Division along Ardennes Street. Then there is the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, the Center of Military History, and the JFK Special Warfare Museum.
But while Fort Bragg has been keen on protecting the lessons of history, it is also able to keep up with the times by providing personnel and civilians alike with all the information they need, from getting medals replaced to getting wed inside the army base. If you ever need to learn anything about Fort Bragg, its history, projects, services, veterans affairs, and the like, all you have to do is check out Fort Bragg either by visiting the army base itself or getting in touch with various departments by phone.
The XVIII Airborne Division may be the ones who primarily call Fort Bragg home but they are not the only ones who use the army base as a base of operation. Tenant units at Fort Brigg include the 902d Military Intelligence, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command, the Civilian Personnel Advisory, and other units like the Golden Knights, the US Army Reserve Command, Womack, DETAC, the 10th MP (CID), the 189th Infantry Brigade, the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the 35th TTSB, the 4th Brigade JROTC, the 406th Army Field Support Battalion, and the 440th Airlift Wing. Some of the organizations that are connected to Fort Bragg include the FORSCOM, the US Army Special Operations Command, the 1st Sustainment Command, USACAPOC, the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, and the US Army Special Operations Aviation Command.
82nd Airborne Over Fort Bragg (17 mins)