'Rocky'-like V Corps unfurls its colors in Wiesbaden
By MARK PATTON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 12, 2011
WIESBADEN, Germany — When V Corps unfurled its colors at Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Friday, it was marking more than its move from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden, the corps was celebrating its survival.
Originally slated for inactivation in 2009, the military recently decided to maintain the Army’s only permanently forward-deployed corps.
“V Corps reminds me of ‘Rocky,’” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, U.S. Army Europe commander, told the gathered crowd. The troops wore the patch of the “Victory Corps,” V Corps’ nickname, acquired in World War I, when it was established.
“A guy who every time you counted him out, thought he was through, thought he wouldn’t come back, viewed (as though) he couldn’t overcome the tough odds, always came back to achieve victory,” Hertling said.
The decision to maintain the corps in the Army is important, the acting commander of V Corps, Brig. Gen. Ricky Gibbs, said, to relieve some stress on troops who have been at war for the past 10 years.
“It will give us flexibility in our Army to do things that need to be done,” Gibbs said in a press conference following the ceremony.
“Victory Corps” has taken part in operations across the globe, including the World War II D-Day landings, guarding the Fulda Gap in Germany against any possible Soviet invasion, and leading the initial 2003 charge into Iraq.
Gibbs said he never dreamed he would be commanding a corps.
“I’m gonna try to stretch that out as long as you’ll let me,” he joked to Hertling.
He may not be able to stretch it out too long. The president nominated Maj. Gen. James Terry, currently the commander of the Fort Drum, N.Y.-based 10th Mountain Division, to receive his third star and take the helm of V Corps. Both recommendations are pending Senate confirmation.
Friday’s ceremony also paid tribute to the V Corps’ most recent accomplishments, as 146 corps personnel returned last month from Afghanistan.
V Corps will add about 750 soldiers and civilians and 1,125 family members to the Wiesbaden military community over the next year.
For now, V Corps will be an “unencumbered” corps, meaning it won’t have subordinate brigades under it. It’s current mission is focused on getting the unit stood up and operational in Wiesbaden.
Corps staff are working in temporary offices until the base’s $125 million, 285,000-square-foot Mission Command Center is ready for occupancy next year, according to Anemone Rueger, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden spokeswoman.
After V Corps, the next major influx of Army personnel slated for arrival to Wiesbaden is USAREUR headquarters. That move will bring another 2,000 soldiers and civilians along with about 3,000 family members to Wiesbaden, according to USAREUR spokesman Bruce Anderson.
Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, U.S. Army Europe commander, speaks to the soldiers of V Corps at a ceremony Friday marking the move of the corps from Heidelberg, Germany, to Wiesbaden. Hertling compared the corps to a phoenix rising from the dust, as a scheduled inactivation of the unit in 2009 was postponed, then canceled.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES