History of V Corps
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 fought in the Lorraine, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. Dubbed "Victory Corps" in honor of its rapid advance in the final phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, V Corps returned to the U.S. in 1919.
Reactivated at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, in October 1940, V Corps took part in the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941, then deployed to Ireland in early 1942after the U.S. declared war on Germany, providing the first U.S. soldiers deployed to the European theater in World War II.
On June 6, 1944, V Corps assaulted Omaha Beach in Normandy. Corps soldiers then broke out from the beachhead, liberated Paris and Sedan, and raced to the German border by September. After liberating the city of Luxembourg, 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 to defend the Fulda Gap during the Cold War. After the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, V Corps deployed 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 severed its 43-year tie with Frankfurt by moving from the historic Abrams Building there to Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg.
V Corps reached out to armed forces in Eastern Europe with numerous initiatives to foster closer ties. Maintaining the NATO commitment, in 1994 the Corps created two bi-national corps’ with Germany. For NATO Central Region missions, V Corps commanded 13th Panzergrenadier Division, while Germany’s II 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 and other units helped form the National Support Element in Hungary for U.S. forces in Bosnia. V Corps Artillery provided command and control for Task Force Victory, which commanded rear and other detachments and supported forward operations. Brigades of its two divisions rotated in the peace enforcement mission in Bosnia for a number of years. Headquarters and Headquarters Company V Corps earned the Army Superior Unit Award in 1998 in honor of its role in Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR.
In April 1999, V Corps deployed its headquarters and subordinate units to Albania as Task Force Hawk in response to the ongoing crisis in Kosovo. 1st Infantry Division served in Kosovo twice and 1st Armored Division once, in addition to V Corps separate brigades.
At the end of 2002, V Corps deployed to Kuwait for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. V Corps and its brigades crossed into Iraq March 21, 2003 as the main effort. In 16 days of fighting, V Corps advanced more than 540 miles straight-line distance from Kuwait to Baghdad, decisively defeated Iraqi forces, and toppled Saddam Hussein.
On June 15, 2003, V Corps formed Combined Joint Task Force- 7 in Baghdad and continued operations to pacify the rest 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 major figures in the Iraqi regime, culminating in the arrest of Saddam Hussein. On February 1, 2004, V Corps was succeeded in CJTF-7 by III Corps and redeployed to Heidelberg, Germany. In honor of its combat achievements in Iraq, the Army awarded HHC V Corps the Meritorious Unit Citation.
In January 2006, V Corps headquarters redeployed to Iraq to replace XVIII Airborne Corps as the command and control element for Multi-National Corps-Iraq. During its second yearlong deployment, HQ V Corps/MNC-I led coalition forces battling widespread insurgency, conducting a massive rebuilding effort and paving the way for further democracy in Iraq.
Returning to Germany in 2007, V Corps 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 2009, and its second command post element in 2010. In early 2011, the reconstitution, modularization, and relocation of V Corps to Wiesbaden Army Air Field (now Clay Kaserne) were accelerated, and V Corps achieved initial operating capability there June 1, 2011 and unfurled its colors there August 12, 2011. The headquarters deployed to Afghanistan in May 2012 to provide the leadership and staff of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. V Corps was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for that service, and redeployed in May 2013. As a result of the U.S. force posture evolution in Europe, the Victory Corps will inactivate effective September 15, 2013.
The Victory Corps cased its colors June 12, 2013, at Schloss Biebrich, Wiesbaden, Germany, after almost a century of service in peace and war, with a history and heritage that form a proud chapter in U.S. military history.