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XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery.

The XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery Fort Bragg, North Carolina continues its mission of providing cannon, rocket, missile and radar support to America's Contingency Corps, the XVIII Airborne Corps. 2003 and 2004 were busy years with all corps artillery units involved in the GWOT or homeland defense.

XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery. As 2003 began, the corps artillery fires and effects coordination cell (FECC) was deployed in support of OEF. Meanwhile, Fort Bragg focused on assuming responsibility for Operation Guardian Mariner II (OGM), which oversees security for US military shipping overseas. The corps artillery was instrumental in mobilizing the 92d Separate Infantry Brigade (SIB) from the Puerto Rico ARNG (PRARNG) with the mission of planning and executing OGM II.

In 2004, the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery further honed its skills as a force FA (FFA) headquarters with an intensive Warfighter ramp-up exercise, controlling a theater-level counterfire fight as well as the fires of the 18th FAB (Airborne), 138th FAB (KYARNG), 169th FAB (COARNG), 103d FAB (RIARNG) and 113th FAB (NCARNG).

The corps artillery then deployed to Fort Bliss, Texas, and Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, for the Joint Air-Ground Center of Excellence (JAGCE) Proof of Principle virtual and live-fire exercise. In the exercise, the corps artillery's force FA headquarters commanded and controlled a corps-level counterfire fight over extended distances, culminating in the firing of a 17-target live schedule of fires with the 18th FAB, 75th FAB from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and 196th FAB (TNARNG). Additionally, the 18th FAB live-fired rockets in support of the 229th Attack Aviation Regiment's live cross-FLOT attacks while the 196th FAB live-fired ATACMS Block II under the control of the corps FECC.

Immediately upon redeploying from Fort Bliss, the corps artillery participated in the XVIII Airborne Corps Warfighter. Under the control of the FFA Headquarters, the 18th, 113th, 138th and 169th FABs applied the lessons learned from the JAGCE with devastating effects on the enemy.

In late summer of 2004, Ulchi Focus Lens took center stage as the Airborne Corps Artillery participated in this virtual exercise with our Korean allies. The XVIII Airborne Corps FFA Headquarters delivered timely and overwhelming effects in the Korean peninsula counterfire fight.

Finally, the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery closed out the year by preparing for its upcoming operational deployment to Southwest Asia with a mission-readiness exercise for OIF III.

18th FA Brigade (Airborne). The 1st FAD (Airborne) deployed in February 2003 to support Coalition Force Land Component Command (CFLCC) operations and provide radar support to IMEF, tracking more than 1,800 rounds in combat operations. In March and April, 1-377 FA (Air Assault), 234th FAD and 3-27 FA (MLRS) deployed to Iraq for OIF.

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Additionally, the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System Task Force (the HIMARS Platoon, C/3-27 FA, and a command and control element from the 18th FAB) deployed in support of Joint Special Operating Forces (JSOF) in western Iraq.

While the bulk of the brigade was deployed, 1-321 FA (Airborne), already in Hungary, redeployed from its Training Task Force mission where it had helped prepare "Free Iraqis" to fight for the liberation of their country.

In September 2003, 3-321 FA reorganized into six infantry platoons, trained and certified on an infantry METL, and by November 2003, it deployed to Afghanistan to provide security to provincial reconstruction team (PRT) sites located throughout the country. The battalion returned to Fort Bragg safely in July after a successful mission.

The 1st FAD redeployed to Fort Bragg in June 2003, 3-27 FA redeployed in July, 1-377 FA redeployed in January 2004 and 234 FAD redeployed in March. With the majority of the brigade at home station, reconstitution training became the focus, including using JAGCE and the XVIII Corps Warfighter as integral train-ing gates for reconstitution. During the JAGCE, the brigade headquarters, 3-27 FA and 1-321 FA (-) deployed to Fort Bliss and Yuma Proving Ground. The exercise kicked off with an airborne assault by the brigade headquarters and 1-321 FA into Fort Bliss, dropping two M198 howitzers and 120 paratroopers.

Upon return to Fort Bragg, the brigade immediately occupied a field location to support the XVIII Airborne Corps War-fighter in May.

Concurrently in May, 1-321 FA conducted a two-gun airborne assault into Snow Ridge Drop Zone (DZ) at Fort Sill to kick-off the 212th FAB's joint close air support (JCAS) exercise Operation Joint Thunder with 155-mm fires from the DZ.

Support for the JSOF continued with the HIMARS Platoon deploying to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, to refine TTPs for working with these agencies. 1-377 FA continues to provide superb support to the M777 lightweight 155-mm howitzer program, deploying Soldiers to 29 Palms, California, to test the system.

Army transformation efforts within the brigade included the deactivation of 1st FAD in May 04. 3-27 FA (MLRS) will become the first HIMARS battalion beginning this winter.

The officers, NCOs and Soldiers of the Dragonfire Artillery stand ready to execute missions in any theater of operations any time to defend our nation's interest at home or abroad--Dragonfire Steel, Steel Rain, Warriors, Thunderbolts, Gunslingers, Airborne, All the Way!
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Title Annotation:Silhouettes of STEEL
Publication:FA Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2004
Words:837
Previous Article:V Corps Artillery.
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