By Spc. Paul A. Holston, XVIII Airborne Corps Public AffairsFebruary 2, 2012
In celebration of the return of the "Sky Dragon" Soldiers, XVIII Airborne Corps, also known as "America's Contingency Corps", conducted a corps-wide run on Fort Bragg, N.C., Feb. 2.
Over 14,000 Soldiers from across XVIII Abn. Corps participated in the run as Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Earl L. Rice, XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg command sergeant major, led the Soldiers along the four-mile route.
"The significance of the corps run is that we get the Soldiers of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg together and start our day with fitness," said Helmick. "Fitness is a part of our culture. For me as the corps' commander here at Fort Bragg, it is important that we as leaders lead the way."
"This run signifies the return of the corps commander and staff following the completing of the mission in Iraq," said Maj. Gen. Rodney O. Anderson, XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg deputy commanding general. "It is also symbolic of the readiness that XVIII Abn. Corps has in terms of a global contingency corps with Soldiers and paratroopers being ready to deploy at a moments notice anywhere around the world."
The XVIII Abn. Corps recently redeployed from Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn. Runners included Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command from Fort Knox, Ky., the 35th Signal Battalion from Fort Lewis, Wash., and the 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Ga.
Prior to starting the run, Helmick and Rice gave their remarks to the large crowd as they thanked the Soldiers for their hard work accomplishing the missions throughout the world.
"Whether you are just coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan, getting ready to go to Afghanistan, or part of the global response force here at Fort Bragg, I have to say that I am very, very proud of all you," said Helmick. "I'm proud what you all have done in Iraq, what you all are doing and will do in Afghanistan, and what you all will do if America calls Fort Bragg to go anywhere at any time."
"I will always place the mission first! I will never accept defeat! I will never quit! I will never leave a fallen comrade!" said Rice as he recited the Warrior Ethos to motivate the crowd.
Sounds of howitzers were booming throughout the run, firing up the crowd as each distinctive unit shouted cadence to their Soldiers.
At the conclusion, Helmick and Rice cheered on the remainder of the corps as they finished.
"Let's have a great day, let's have a good run, airborne! All the way!" said Helmick.