With clear, blue skies and a beautiful sunrise across the airborne horizon, the XVIII Airborne Corps celebrated its 69th birthday with a corps-wide run on Fort Bragg, Sept. 6.

More than 12,500 Soldiers from across XVIII Abn. Corps participated in the run as Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, XVIII Abn. Corps commanding general, Command Sgt. Maj. Isaia T. Vimoto, XVIII Abn. corps and Fort Bragg command sergeant major and Corps staff led the Soldiers along the four-mile route.

Before starting the run, Anderson addressed the large crowd and thanked the Soldiers for their hard work accomplishing the missions throughout the world.

“As you all watch the events around the world each and every day, I remind you all that the world and the nation needs everything that you solely provide here at Fort Bragg,” said Anderson. “Thank you all so much for what you do each and every day. We appreciate your service and sacrifice, keep up the great work, we are proud of you. One team, one fight! Airborne! All the way!”

The birthday run began at Campobello Street and went along the Longstreet intersection.

The explosive sounds of howitzers projected across the installation as it helped motivate and fire up the troopers as each distinctive unit shouted cadence to their Soldiers.

At the conclusion of the run, Anderson, Vimoto as well as many key leaders from both the XVIII Abn. Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division cheered on the remainder of the corps as they finished.

“For me, it’s an honor to participate, but this is also great for the corps,” said Col. Robert D. Morschauser, XVIII Abn. Corps chief of staff. “It brings out teamwork and builds cohesion … as a rapid deployment force for our nation, we have to be a cohesive team ready to go anytime. Runs like this build cohesiveness,” he said.

“Nothing is more exciting than kicking off our birthday celebration with a four mile run with all our Soldiers,” said Vimoto.  “This is about honoring a proud tradition and building esprit de corps with the entire team.”

The XVIII Airborne Corps, was originally activated as the II Armored Corps at Camp Polk, La., Jan. 17, 1942. It was re-designated as XVIII Corps on Oct. 9, 1943, at the Presidio of Monterey, Calif.

The corps celebrates its birthday on Aug. 25, 1944, when the blue airborne tab was added at Ogbourne, St. George, England.

The XVIII Airborne Corps is trained in tactical operational and strategic levels of war and is capable of exercising the nation’s ability to conduct strategic forced entry operations anywhere in the world on short notice.

The corps has been widely recognized as a trained force ready to undertake a variety of missions from peace operations to general-purpose war and of conducting large-scale joint and combined operations.