- NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps
The NATO Rapid Deployable Corps - Italy (NRDC-IT) (also Rapid Deployable Italian Corps) is a corps headquarters of the Italian Army. It was established in November 2001 as a High Readiness Force (HRF) of NATO. The staff of NRDC-IT is located in Solbiate Olona, a few kilometers northwest of Milan. The NRDC-IT was the former 3rd Army Corps.
In 1957, the 3rd Army Corps was established in Milan, commanding three divisions and support units. The 3rd Army Corps was intended as the reserve army corps of the Italian Army during the Cold War. Serving alongside 4th Army Corps and 5th Army Corps as part of Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (LANDSOUTH), the corps would have been charged with destruction of any Warsaw Pact forces which might have broken through the two forward corps' defence lines.
During almost 40 years of activity the Corps played a key role in contributing and supporting the Italian Contingent deployed in Lebanon in 1982. In 1984 the corps consisted of the 131 Armoured Division Centauro (Novara), (comprising the Legnano Mechanised Infantry Brigade at Bergamo, the 3rd 'Goito' Mechanised Infantry Brigade at Milan, and the 31ª Brigata corazzata “Curtatone” at Bellinzago Novarese), the 'Cremona' Motorised Brigade at Torino, the 3º Battaglione genio pionieri “Lario”, stanziato a Pavia, the 3º Battaglione trasmissioni “Spluga”, stationed at Milan, the 3º Battaglione logistico di manovra, stationed at Milan, the 3º Raggruppamento ALE “Eridano”, stanziato at Bresso, the Reggimento artiglieria a cavallo “Voloire”, stationed at Milan, the 3º Gruppo artiglieria specialisti “Brianza”, stationed at Milan, and the 53º Gruppo Squadroni EM “Cassiopea”, stationed at Padova.
At the end of the Cold War in 1989 the 3rd Army Corps consisted of the Armored Brigade Centauro, the Mechanized Infantry Brigade Goito, the Mechanized Infantry Brigade Legnano, and the Motorized Infantry Brigade Cremona.
Furthermore, its units participated in Operation IBIS in Somalia in 1993/4. Finally, in 1997 the Corps assumed responsibility for Operation Alba in Albania, the first multinational Italian-led Mission ever. Fifteen contributing Nations brought humanitarian aid to a country that was in a dramatic economic and political situation.
In 1998, in the wake of the restructuring of the Italian Army, the 3rd IT Corps was transformed into the Projection Forces Headquarters (FOP) in command and control of three Brigades, which were characterized by high mobility and deployability.
NRDC-IT is operationally led by the Joint Force Command Headquarters in Naples, Brunssum or Lisbon. Its staff currently (2006) comprises soldiers from 15 NATO member states, but the Commander and a large part of the staff are Italian. Normally, the Corps commands only a support regiment and the 1st Signals Regiment of the Italian Army, but if necessary it can command further support units as well as a number of divisions or brigades.
From its establishment until its deployment in Afghanistan, NRDC-IT has participated in the following exercises:
- Lion Start (5 to 8 February 2002, Solbiate Olona)
- Spear Head (16 to 25 April 2002, Ramstein, Germany)
- Hot Red Fire (11 to 14 June 2002, Solbiate Olona, Turbigo, La Conigliera)
- Eagle Flight (2 September to 15 October 2002, Civitavecchia)
- Light Ship (3 to 13 December 2002, Civitavecchia)
- Sharp Dagger (21 April to 2 May 2003, Wildflecken, Germany)
- Northern Light (15 to 26 September 2003, Luce Bay, Scotland)
- Roman Warrior (10 to 27 November 2003, Solbiate Olona, Varese)
- Eagle Landing (15 March to 2 April 2004, Legnano, Novara, Solbiate Olona)
- Allied Action (1 May to 8 June 2004, Civitavecchia and Monteromano)
- Eagle Recce (27 to 31 July 2004, Cameri, Vergiate, Solbiate Olona)
- Destined Glory (28 September to 15 October 2004, Cagliari and Capo Teulada)
- Ready to Move (25 October to 26 November 2004, Solbiate Olona)
- Eagle Focus 1-2-3 (25 January to 28 February 2005, Solbiate Olona)
- Eagle Action (6 to 14 May 2005, Solbiate Olona)
- Eagle Thunder (7 to 23 June 2005, Stavanger, Norway)
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