FORT KNOX, Ky. — After seven years, V Corps’ historic century-old colors fly again.
The unit’s last and now retired command team of Lt. Gen. James Terry and Command Sgt. Maj. William Johnson cased the colors on a warm sunny day in Wiesbaden, Germany, June 12, 2013.
On Oct. 16, they joined the current team, Lt. Gen. John Kolasheski and Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Webb, to unfurl the unit’s colors and campaign streamers from its case at its new home at Fort Knox, under a cool sunny sky described by Kolasheski as “a beautiful fall day.”
“The reactivation of the Victory Corps demonstrates the U.S. commitment to Europe, to NATO, and to our allies and partners in the region. It provides [U.S. European Command] and U.S. Army Europe with a three-star headquarters to conduct operational planning, execute mission command over allocated and assigned forces, and promote interoperability,” said Kolasheski. “It is a big deal for the Army, Forces Command, and U.S. Army Europe.”
Kolasheski explained the historic significance of the unit’s history, which began in 1918 at the heat of World War I. Much of that history was written in Germany and throughout Europe, a history that will continue there in their new forward home in Poznań, Poland.
V Corps becomes the U.S. Army’s fourth operational corps.
Joining the ceremony, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out that V Corps and Fort Knox have been intrinsically linked since World War II through the post’s armor history.
“History is just the first reason this installation is the perfect choice for the V Corps,” said McConnell. “In recent years, Fort Knox has become a central pillar of Army readiness. Since 2018, that growth has been in the very capable hands of [Fort Knox Commanding] General John Evans. We’re grateful for his leadership.”
Kolasheski spoke about the personal significance of the unit’s activation at Fort Knox.
“This is a bit surreal for me personally as almost 31 years to the day, I started my military career at Fort Knox as a young armor officer,” said Kolasheski. “Truth be told, my parents weren’t so sure I would ever graduate the armor officer basic course and leave Fort Knox.”
The more than 650 Soldiers and their Families that make up the unit headquarters have been arriving throughout the summer, many getting involved upon hitting the ground in standing up the unit.
The impact of the latest growth to the post has been as much symbolic as it is economic, said James Iacocca, president of the Knox Regional Development Alliance and a former Army Adjutant General at U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
“The importance to the Army of Fort Knox is huge. It touches the entire life cycle of the Soldier, and so Fort Knox has been doing very well for a long time,” said Iacocca. “V Corps coming in just increases that strategic importance.”
Iacocca admitted that the expansion of the installation’s reach also changes its complexity a little bit.
“It now becomes an operational post again.”
The ceremony’s officiating officer, U.S. Army Forces Commanding General Gen. Michael X. Garrett, said watching the previous commander and command sergeant major unfurl the flag made the near perfect day extra special.
“Today is special for a whole bunch of reasons, and on a whole bunch of levels,” said Garrett. Included in his list of reasons was having 19th Engineer Battalion Soldiers firing the salute battery and members of the 101st Airborne Division Band perform music, as well as the installation’s legacy of lethality through armor and cavalry doctrinal concepts and dominance on the field of battle.
“With the reactivation of V Corps, we build on that legacy, and posture our forces to meet our obligations in the National Defense Strategy, and to compete in a dynamic battle space with our adversaries,” said Garrett. “V Corps will fill a critical gap … make no mistake, the United States remains fully committed to a strong Trans-Atlantic alliance, strengthening our partnership, and setting conditions for a safe, prosperous Europe — and today’s ceremony underscores that commitment.
Editor's Note: For more images of the ceremony, visit the Fort Knox official Flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/fortknoxky/sets/72157716496928557.