The XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters landed back at Fort Bragg Sept. 15, 2019, fresh off a more than year-long deployment to Iraq and Kuwait.
The Corps' command team of Lt. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera and Command Sgt. Maj. Charles W. Albertson, along with 152 Soldiers, arrived at Pope Army Airfield to the cheers of family, friends and fellow Soldiers.
"There were a lot of highs with a couple of lows," LaCamera said of the deployment. "Yet the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and the entire combined joint task force, both coalition and the U.S., were magnificent together."
Over 300 personnel from the Corps deployed in Fall 2018 as the mission command element, leading operations as the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve headquarters. Two previous flights arrived over the past few weeks with returning Corps' Soldiers.
The return comes off of the heels of the XVIII Airborne Corps celebrating its 75th Anniversary Aug. 25, 2019.
Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commander, U.S. Army Forces Command, along with fellow command teams, greeted troopers as they came off the plane.
"It was a professional honor and a personal pleasure to look every one of you in the eye and shake your hand for a job incredibly well done," Garrett said to the gathered paratroopers. "Be proud of everything you have accomplished, and know that you established, set, and maintained a very high airborne standard."
Friends and families of the Soldiers returning home gathered at Passenger Shed 1 at Pope Army Airfield, greeting Soldiers with hugs, kisses and tears of joy.
"It was very difficult to have him away from home," said Katherine Rodriguez, wife of Staff Sgt. Jose Colon, an information technology specialist assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps. "It was his first time away from us. We are so relieved and excited to have him home."
The XVIII Airborne Corps maintains a strategic response force capability to deploy on short-notice anywhere in the world by air, land, or sea to conduct unified land operations as an Army, Joint, or Combined Task Force Headquarters.