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History of the

 

A Home in the Pacific for the 25th Infantry Division

Long before the annexation of Hawaii, the island of Oahu in the central pacific held supreme importance in the defense of North America.


In 1872 Major General John M. Schofield stepped ashore to evaluate the military potential of Oahu's seaports. He found two fine harbors, only six miles apart, that promised shelter for the American Navy and a haven for the Merchant Marine fleet in its passage to Asia. The Leilehua plateau seemed an ideal location for “a brigade of mobile troops.” General Schofield, now Commanding General of the Army, was able to convince Congress that Hawaii was vital to the defense of the United States.

On 12 August 1898, at the height of the Spanish-American War, Hawaii was annexed as a U.S. territory, and four days later 1,300 troops of the 1st New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 2nd U.S. Volunteer Engineers landed near Diamond Head to set up the first military base. Their mission was to defend Oahu and facilitate the use of Hawaii as a staging base for operations against the Spanish Empire.

The first permanent Post established on Oahu was Fort Shafter in 1907. With arrival of cavalry two years later, CPT Joseph C. Casnter established a camp on the Leilehua plain. Beginning as a simple cavalry camp, Schofield Barracks quickly became a full-fledged military community. The purpose of the base was to defend Pearl Harbor from an overland attack from the North Shore. Between 1908 and 1911, coastal defense guns were placed along the southern coast at Forts Ruger, DeRussy, Armstrong, Kamehameha, and Weaver.

ACTIVATION OF THE 25TH INFANTRY DIVISION

On 1 October 1941, the Hawaiian Division was inactivated. The 24th Infantry Division integrated the 19th and 21st Infantry Regiments, as well as the 229th Infantry Regiment of the Hawaiian Army National Guard. The 27th and the 35th Infantry Regiments, the 298th Infantry Regiment of the Hawaiian Guard, plus a field artillery brigade, formed the core of the new 25th Infantry Division.

WORLD WAR II

PEARL HARBOR - These units operated for only ten weeks in peace before the Japanese launched their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, both the 24th and the 25th were dispatched to their defensive positions. The 24th deployed to the North Shore of Oahu and the 25th to the beaches on the south side of the island. Under threat of another Japanese attack, the following year was spent in these defensive positions while units concentrated on intensive jungle training. Throughout the War, the Hawaiian Islands served as the major command and control, deployment, and training center for the US Army in the Pacific Theater.


GUADALCANAL - After finally receiving the call to combat on November 25, 1942, the 25th Infantry Division began its deployment by troop ship to the South Pacific, landing on Guadalcanal between December 17, 1942 and January 4, 1943. The Division led by Major General Lawton Collins, received orders upon arrival to launch an attack against the Japanese forces which other Army and Marine Corps contingents had been fighting for nearly five months. After a month of bitter combat, the 25th Infantry Division proved to be the element that tipped the scales in favor of the US side. The speed with which the Division executed its mission earned it the informal nickname of "Tropic Lightning."


NORTH SOLOMON ISLANDS - The next combat action for the Division took place in the Solomon Islands. The 27th and the 35th regiments and the newly attached 161st Infantry Regiment of the Washington Army National Guard (The Hawaiian National Guard's 298th Infantry Regiment was released on 3 August 1942 to protect its home state) defeated Japanese Forces on Arundel (Kohinggo) and Kolombangera Islands and participated in the capture of Vella LaVella.


PHILIPPINES - Following the Solomon campaigns the Division headed for New Zealand and subsequently New Caledonia, for a period of rest as well as intensive training. By that time, most units had been depleted by harsh jungle battles against a highly motivated enemy.

The rest didn't last long before the Division received orders to land at Luzon in the Philippine Islands on January 11, 1945.

Once in country, Divisional units quickly pushed from the Lingayen Gulf to the main highway through Balete Pass where they joined forces with the 32d Infantry Division. By the time the 25th captured the Balete Pass, it had suffered more combat deaths than any other U.S. Division in the Philippines. With the Battle of Luzon at a close, "Tropic Lightning" was moved to Camp Patrick to prepare for the invasion of Japan.

In 165 days of continuous active combat in the Philippines, the 25th accounted for more than 6,000 Japanese killed and set the record for combat endurance in the Pacific Theater of Operations. The record was recognized with the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation as well as six other unit citations.

JAPAN - The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precluded the plan to invade Japan. Instead, the 25th took part in the Occupation of Japan after the surrender. It had become characteristic of the men of the 25th to go beyond what was expected of them. In peace, as in war, Tropic Lightning put its heart processing the war's refugees and homeless. The 27th Infantry Wolfhounds and the "Automatic" Eight Field Artillery Regiment founded an orphanage at Osaka for the war's forgotten children. Since the end of that tour the men of the Wolfhounds and Automatic Eight have supported the orphanage, building it into one of the finest in the Orient.

All told six Division soldiers were awarded Medals of Honor for their bravery and sacrifice during WWII.

KOREAN WAR


Open warfare once again flared in Asia, now the Division's primary area of concern, on June 25, 1950.

The North Korean People's Army crossed the 38th Parallel on that day in an unprovoked attack on the Republic of South Korea. Acting under United Nations orders, the Tropic Lightning Division moved from it's base in Japan to Korea between July 5 - 18, 1950.

The Division was again ordered into combat and Tropic Lightning was again quick to respond. Hastily loaded onto boats, they landed on Korean shores less than two days later.

The situation was desperate when the Division arrived and elements of the 25th Division were in the thick of the fight by July 9th. By the end of the month, the men of the Tropic Lightning were strung out along the Northwestern fringe of the shrinking Pusan Perimeter.

In August, General Walton H. Walker, over all field commanders in Korea, ordered the 25th Division to the Southwestern sector of the 140 mile long perimeter to guard against a possible enemy breakthrough to Masan which would have meant the loss of Pusan and the destruction of the American beachhead. As the communist noose began to tighten, the Wolfhounds were shifted back and forth to whatever sector was in the most immediate danger. They beat the enemy in the Chinju Gap, threw them back when they penetrated the 24th Divisions' lines near Yongsan, and stopped them cold in their approach to Taegu.


DRIVE INTO NORTH KOREA - The Division participated in the break-out from the Pusan perimeter and the successful drive into North Korea in October 1950.

Task Force Dolvin, the 89th Tank Battalion under LTC Dolvin on November 24 and together these units successfully drove the enemy to the Yalu River.

In a sudden and unexpected reversal, however, an overwhelming number of Chinese Communist troops crossed the Yalu and pushed back United Nations forces all along the front.

The Division was grudgingly forced to carry out a systematic withdrawal and ordered to take up defensive positions on the south bank of the Chongchon River November 30, 1950. Eventually, these lines failed. However, after a series of short withdrawals a permanent battle line was established south of Osan.

INCHON/KIMPO AIRBASE - After a month and a half of planning and reorganization, a new offensive was launched January 15, 1951, and was successfully completed by Feb 10 with the recapture of Inchon and Kimpo Air Base.

This was the first of several successful assaults on the Chinese/North Korean force, which helped turn the tide in the United Nation's favor.

IRON TRIANGLE - The Division next participated in Operation Ripper, during which it drove the enemy across the Han River. Success continued with Operation Dauntless, Detonate and Piledriver in the Spring of 1951.

These offensives secured part of the famous "Iron Triangle" which enhanced the United Nations' bargaining platform. With leaders of four nations now a the negotiating tables in the summer of 1951, Division activity slowed to patrol and defensive actions to maintain the line of resistance. This type of action continued into the winter of 1952.

SEOUL - When negotiations began to fail, the Division assumed the responsibility of guarding the approaches of Seoul May 5, 1953. 23 days later, a heavy Chinese assault was hurled at it. The Division held its ground and the assault was repulsed; the brunt of the attack was absorbed by the 14th Infantry, "Golden Dragons". By successfully defending Seoul from continued attack from May to July 1953, the Division earned its second Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Again negotiators moved toward peace. In July, the Division again moved to reserve status at Camp Casey where it remained through the signing of the armistice July 27, 1953.

Fourteen Tropic Lightning soldiers were awarded Medals of Honor during the Korean Conflict, making the Tropic Lightning Division the most decorated Division of that War.

The Division remained in Korea until 1954 and returned to Hawaii from September through October of that year. After a 12-year absence, the 25th Infantry Tropic Lightning Division had finally returned home.

VIETNAM


After its return to Hawaii in 1954, the Division established and conducted intensive training programs in jungle warfare techniques and the study of Asian languages, thus becoming the only trained counter-guerrilla unit in the U.S. Army.

In response to a request from the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, the Division sent 100 helicopter door-gunners to the Republic of South Vietnam in early 1963.

By August 1965, further Division involvement in the coming Vietnam Conflict included the deployment of Company C, 65th Engineer Battalion, to South Vietnam to assist in the construction of port facilities at Cam Ranh Bay.


By mid 1965, 2,200 men of the Tropic Lightning Division were involved in Vietnam.

Operation Blue Light- (December 1965) was the largest and longest airlift of personnel and cargo into a combat zone in military history before Operation Desert Shield. The Brigade deployed its first soldiers from Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, to the central highlands at Pleiku. The Division deployed 4,000 3rd Brigade infantrymen and 9,000 tons of equipment from Hawaii in 25 days to the Northwest sector of South Vietnam to firmly establish a fortified enclave from which the Division could operate. December 24, 1965.

Visit the link below for more info/photos on what happened during the building of our main base camp for the 25th Infantry Division. Info on the 1/5th Mech.



The 3rd Brigade was the first 25th Division element alerted for Vietnam service. The 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry was transferred to the 3rd Brigade as its third battalion and the 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery was attached as the direct support artillery battalion as well as Troop C, 3/4th Cavalry as the brigade's reconnaissance element. On 28 December 1965 the 3rd Brigade began arriving at Pleiku in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The 1st Battalion, 69th Armor in May 1966, joined the 3rd Brigade. The brigade engaged North Vietnam regulars along the Cambodian border and then Viet Cong main-line forces in Quang Ngai province for which it received a Valorous Unit Award.

The rest of the 25th Division began arriving at Cu Chi northwest of Saigon in January 1966. Last to arrive was the 1st Brigade on 29 April 1966. Before leaving Hawaii the brigade received two battalions from Alaska, the 4th Battalions of the 9th and 23rd Infantry to bring it up to strength. During the period from the summer of 1966 to the spring of 1967 the 25th Division was the largest division in Vietnam with four brigades under its command, the division's 1st and 2nd Brigades as well as the 3rd Brigade, 4th Division and the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. In early 1967 the 25th participated in two major operations conducted in Military Region III, Cedar Falls and Junction City.

In April 1967 the 196th was transferred to Chu Lai in I Corps, thus reducing the division to three brigades. On 1 August 1967 the 3rd Brigade rejoined the 25th Division and assumed control of the former elements of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Division, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 22nd Infantry and the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry. The 2nd Battalion, 77th Artillery was assigned to the 25th Division Artillery. In exchange the 4th Division at Pleiku assumed control of the units formally with the 25th Division's 3rd Brigade except for Troop C, 3/4th Cavalry and several other company-level support elements which rejoined the division at Cu Chi less personnel and equipment.


The tunnels that the base camp was constructed on.
The Tunnels of Cu Chi


By mid-January, the deployment operation was complete - giving combat planners in Vietnam a favorable balance of power.

The Division was heavily engaged from April 1966 until 1970 throughout the area of operations in Southeast Asia. The Division fought the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong north and west of Saigon. During the 1968 Tet Offensive the 25th stopped the Viet Cong attempts to seize Ton Son Nhut airfield and participated in the defense of Saigon. The Tropic Lightning consistently defeated the Communists forces wherever they found them in the Iron Triangle, Boi Loi Woods, HoBo Woods, Hoc Mon, Tay Ninh, War Zone C and Cambodia. . During this period, Tropic Lightning soldiers fought in some of the toughest battles of the war.

In January and February 1968, during a truce for Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, a desperate enemy launched his all-out offensive in a dramatic attempt to regain the ground and influence that Tropic Lightning and other allied forces had taken. Moving rapidly into the path of the main units assembled for the attack, Division soldiers absorbed the full force of the enemy blows and then counter-attacked viciously to smash the offensive. Through the summer of 1968 the enemy withdrew to sanctuaries across the Cambodian border and into the triple canopy jungle North of Tay Ninh City. When the next attack came, Tropic Lightning slashed back. The First Brigade smashed the attacking forces at Tay Ninh and Fire Support Base Buell then cut through the Ben Cui rubber plantation and forced the enemy back through the fog of Nui Ba Den. Again North Vietnamese soldiers hammered at the 1st Brigade at Ben Cui and again the Brigade retaliated with killing accuracy. For four nights Division troops repelled enemy attacks on Fire Support Base Buell meeting the communists at point blank range.

On September 20, the devastated remains of eight NVA Regiments staggered back from the line of contact leaving more than 2,000 dead. Tropic Lightning troops returned tired and dirty to the base camps.

Tropic Lightning dealt several more decisive blows to the enemy in the final months of the war. In one of the most stunning defeats dealt to the enemy, the 25th captured the supplies the NVA had smuggled into the country to support their plan to mount an offensive against the newly stable government of the Republic of Vietnam. The Division pursued the enemy across the Cambodian border on search and destroy missions. The last Tropic Lightning units withdrew back to Vietnam by the end of June.


During the early morning hours of June 6th, 1969 in conjunction with several other attacks on Tay Ninh City area, the NVA (North Vietnamese Army of the 88th NVA Regiment and the 272nd NVA Regiment as a reinforcement unit) attacked Fire Support Base Crook. A Fire Support Base located 19 miles northwest of Tay Ninh city (War Zone C) manned by "A" (Alfa) Battery 7/11 Field Artillery and the soldiers of "B" (Bravo) Company 3/22 Infantry


More on the battle at Fire Support Base Crook

The Vietnamization of the war and the withdrawals of U.S. forces began in 1969. On 6 December 1970 the Tropic Lightning Division began leaving Vietnam for Schofield Barracks with the 2nd Brigade being the last to leave on 30 April 1971. The 25th Infantry Division served gallantly for 1,716 days in Vietnam receiving participation credit for eleven Vietnam campaigns and being twice awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. Eight Tropic Lightning units were awarded Presidential Unit Citations and eleven received Valorous Unit Awards. 21 Tropic Lightning soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor.

During the Vietnam war a requirement existed to maintain a strategic reaction force for contingencies in the Pacific area other than Vietnam. Originally the 29th Infantry Brigade of the Hawaii National Guard had been federalized to serve in that capacity. On 6th December 1969 the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division was activated for that mission and placed under the command of the U.S. Army Pacific. The brigade consisted of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry, 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry, 3rd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 5th Battalion, 13th Artillery, Troop H, 10th Cavalry, 76th Engineer Company and the 425th Support Battalion. It was inactivated upon return of the 25th Division from Vietnam on 15 December 1970 with its personnel and equipment used to bring the 1st Brigade up to strength.

CAMBODIA - During a three-month period, from April through June 1970, Tropic Lightning soldiers participated in Allied thrusts deep into enemy sanctuaries located in Cambodia. In these operations, the Division units confiscated thousands of tons of supplies and hundreds of weapons. This operation crippled the Cambodian efforts against American units.

By late December 1970, elements of the 25th Infantry Division were able to begin redeployment to Schofield Barracks. Second Brigade was the last element of the Tropic Lightning Division to depart Vietnam. It arrived at Schofield Barracks in the early days of May 1971. During the war in Vietnam, 22 Medals of Honor were awarded to Tropic Lightning soldiers - more than any other Division in the war.

POST VIETNAM REORGANIZATION

After its return to Schofield Barracks, the 25th Infantry Division remained the only Army Division to have been on the mainland.

In a time of overall military downsizing, it was reduced to a single brigade numbering 4,000 men.

The Division was reactivated in March 1972. It was reorganized to include as a "Roundout" Brigade the 29th Infantry Brigade of the Hawaii Army National Guard which included: the 2-299th Infantry Battalion Hawaii Guard, 100th Battalion -442d Infantry of the Army Reserves and the 1-184th Infantry Battalion California National Guard.

Now reorganized, the 25th Infantry Division trained for the next eight years throughout the Pacific Theater and continued to improve its combat capabilities with troop deployment varying in size from squads. Who participated in training missions with Fijian forces, to operations as large as Operation Team Spirit, where more than 5,000 Divisional troops were airlifted to South Korea for this annual exercise.

LIGHT INFANTRY - In 1985, the Division began its reorganization from a conventional infantry division to a light infantry division. The four primary characteristics of this new light infantry division were to be: mission flexibility, rapid deployment and combat readiness at 100 percent strength with a Pacific Basin orientation.

Major configuration changes included the addition of a third infantry brigade, an additional direct-support artillery battalion and the expansion of the combat aviation battalion to a brigade-sized unit.

With the transfer of large quantities of heavy equipment, the 25th Infantry Division earned the designation "light" - the reorganization was completed by October 1, 1986.

Training became more sophisticated and more intense. In 1988, the Division's first battalions participated in rotations at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Chaffee, Ark. This training center provides the most realistic training available to light forces in the Army. Coupled with Joint/Combined training exercises Cobra Gold in Thailand, Kangaroo in Australia and Orient Shield in Japan, the Division's demanding exercise schedule significantly increased the Division's fighting capabilities. Until 1993 Operation Team Spirit in Korea remained the Division's largest annual maneuver exercise, involving more than half of the Division's strength.

DESERT SHIELD/STORM


During the Gulf War, one platoon each from Companies A, B and C, 4th Battalion, 27th Infantry, "Wolfhounds" deployed to Saudi Arabia in January 1991. These Tropic Lightning soldiers were scheduled to be replacement squads in the ground campaign; however, after observing their thoroughly outstanding performance in desert warfare training, the Assistant Commander of Third U.S. Army asked for them to become the security force for the Army's Forward Headquarters.

In that role, the Wolfhound platoons were alerted and attacked with Third Army (Forward) into Kuwait City February 26, where they secured the headquarters area and conducted mop-up operations in the city and its adjacent mine fields.

Company A's platoon was separated from the other Wolfhounds following that battle to accompany General H. Norman Schwarzkopf into Iraq March 1, 1991 providing security at the truce signing.

The three platoons returned to Schofield Barracks without casualties on March 20, 1991.


HAITI - UPHOLD DEMOCRACY


More than 3, 700 soldiers from he 25th Infantry Division (Light) deployed to Haiti in January 1995 to participated in the peacekeeping mission Operation Uphold Democracy.

TWO-FOLD MISSION - The Division's mission was two-fold: The Division staff assumed the role of the Multinational Force Headquarters while soldiers of the 2d and 3d Brigades became members of the United States contingent.

As the Multinational Force Commander, the 25th Infantry Division (Light) Commanding General Major General George A. Fisher assumed responsibility for soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and Coast guardsmen from 27 nations, including the Caribbean community, Nepal, Bangladesh and Guam.

MG Fisher, as well as other members of the multinational staff, worked with President Jean Bertrand Aristide and members of the various ministries to help Haiti reestablish itself as a democratic republic.

Additionally, the staff provided the resources necessary for the Multinational Force to conduct this vital peacekeeping mission. Many of the missions undertaken in Uphold Democracy required military acumen and a great deal of diplomacy and managerial expertise. Members of the Division staff and subordinate commands worked extensively with members of the Haitian government in laying the foundation for a successful democracy. While the staff was busy building a budding democracy, Divisional peacekeeping units were deployed to two separate areas of the tiny island nation.

In the South, members of the 2d Brigade provided security for President Aristide, the National Palace and other locations in Port-au-Prince critical to Haiti's emerging democracy. Through their vigilance and presence there, the threat to the government and government officials was significantly lowered. In the North, members of the 3d Brigade were stationed at Cap Haitian. There the unit assisted the government in establishing law and order, developing infrastructure and setting the conditions necessary from promoting democracy.

Members of the 25th Military Police Battalion played a critical role in upgrading the national prison and assisting in the training of the Haitian interim security force. Their part of the job done, the 25th Infantry Division (Light) officially left Haiti March 31, 1995 when the United Nations Mission in Haiti assumed command. Approximately 500 2d Brigade soldiers, though, remained as part of the United Nations Force through early June 1995.

DIVISION REORGANIZATION

In 1995, the Division underwent another reorganization and reduction as a part of the Army's downsizing. First Brigade and its direct support units were inactivated and moved to Fort Lewis, Wash., where they were again reactivated as a detached brigade of the 25th Infantry Division (Light).

Today the "Tropic Lightning" Division is composed of three infantry brigades (two in Hawaii; one at Fort Lewis), an Aviation Brigade, Division Artillery, a Division Support command and a complement of separate battalions. As a major ground reserve force for the U.S. Pacific Command, the "Tropic Lightning" Division routinely deploys from Schofield Barracks to participate in exercises in Japan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and the Big Island of Hawaii.

Additionally, soldiers from 11 Pacific Basin nations annually come to Hawaii to participate in exchange programs with the 25th Infantry Division (Light) units. This program enhances the Division's interrelations with sister services and allied nations around the world.

STRYKER BRIGADES

The Army's evaluation of Desert Storm recognized the need for a rapidly deployable organization that could fill the operational gap between initially deployed light forces, which lack staying power, and the slower deploying heavy armored forces. Originally known as the Interim Brigade Combat Team it is now known as the Stryker Brigade Combat Team. It is an infantry brigade mounted on some three hundred Stryker 19-ton wheeled armored vehicles in ten different configurations with significant upgrades in firepower and capable of being transported in C-130 aircraft within ninety-six hours. The transformation began in 1999 with the conversion of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis to a Stryker Brigade. As part of the reorganization, the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry was reassigned to the brigade from the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. The brigade became operational in 2003 and is currently serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Starting in the spring of 2002 the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division began to reorganize from a light infantry brigade to the Stryker configuration. As part of that transformation a third infantry battalion has been assigned to the 1st Brigade. The 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry which served with the 25th Division from 1986-1995 was reactivated on 16 March 2002 at Fort Lewis. Also activated on 16 May 2002 was the brigade reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition squadron, the 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry. Company D, 52nd Infantry was added to the brigade as a TOW missile equipped anti-tank company on 16 July 2002. The 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery remains as the brigade's direct support field artillery battalion. The 25th Support Battalion was reorganized as separate brigade support battalion. Both Company A, 65th Engineer Battalion and Company A, 125th MI Battalion which were supporting the 1st Brigade were replaced with the 73rd Engineer Company on 16 June 2002 and the 184th MI Company on 16 May 2002. In addition the 176th Signal Company and the 125th Combat Service Support Companies were assigned. It is planned for the 1st Brigade to be operational as a Stryker Brigade in 2004.

On 12 July 2001, the Army announced that the 2nd Brigade, 25th Division would also reorganize as the fifth of the Army's six planned Stryker Brigades. This would result in the 25th being the only division in the Army to have two Stryker Brigades. Having two Stryker and one light infantry brigades would put into question the current organization of the rest of the 25th Division. Especially in the case of the divisional engineer, military intelligence and signal battalions, if like the 1st Brigade, the 2nd Brigade would be assigned separate companies of these branches. On 17 December 2003 Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld gave final approval to converting the 2nd Brigade to the Stryker configuration upon its return from Iraq in early 2005. The brigade is expected to be operational in 2006.

GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM & TODAY

The tragic events of 11 September 2001 have led the nation into a war on terrorism. Once again the United States Army is engaged in combat in far-flung areas of the world. Since 1941 the 25th Infantry Division has steadfastly served America in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and Peacekeeping. Now Tropic Lightning soldiers are contributing to the conduct of the war on terrorism. In the initial phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom approximately one hundred Tropic Lightning soldiers augmented various participating Army organizations. In August 2003 the Army directed that the 2nd Brigade would deploy to Afghanistan beginning in February 2004 followed by the 3rd Brigade in August 2004. Both brigades would serve six month tours of duty. In November 2003 these orders were changed. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment deployed to Iraq in February 2004 for a one year tour of duty. On 19 February 2004 the 2nd Brigade Combat Team replaced the 173rd Airborne Brigade at the Kirkuk Air Base. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team is responsible for security in the city of Kirkuk and the surrounding area. The 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment is supporting the operations of the 1st Armored and 1st Cavalry Divisions in the Baghdad area. The 25th Infantry Division Headquarters, Division Artillery Headquarters, the Aviation Brigade, Support Brigade and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Afghanistan in April 2004 for a one-year tour of duty. The Division Headquarters is stationed at Bagram Air Base and is serving as the headquarters for the Combined Joint Task Force composed of all Coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Support Command is also stationed at Bagram Airbase and is serving as the Joint Logistics Command. Aviation Brigade elements are stationed at Bagram and Kandahar Airbases. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team is deployed in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.

The 25th Infantry Division (Light) continues to train throughout the Pacific Theater to improve its capabilities through troop deployment and allied training, both here and abroad. Each year Tropic Lighting soldiers deploy from Schofield Barracks to participate in exercises in Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and the Big Island of Hawaii. In addition, soldiers from 11 Pacific Basin nations come to Hawaii to participate in exchange programs with 25th Infantry Division (Light) units organized by the U.S. Army, Pacific Command every year. This program ensures success on the joint service and combined nation military battlefields should a contingency require it.

TRANSFORMATION-

Still on the cutting edge of modernization, two of the Division’s three brigades- 1st Brigade at Fort Lewis, Washington, and 2nd Brigade at Schofield Barracks- have been selected to convert to Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCT). Designed around the new Stryker vehicles, the SBCTs will make brigades even more rapidly deployable. First Brigade was one of the initial two brigades to be selected and is expected to be fully equipped and ready for operational testing within the next two years. Second Brigade will complete its conversion over the next five years.

TROPIC LIGHTING- All this leads to the Division's motto - earned more than 60 years ago but very much applicable today -

Ready to Strike! Anytime. Anywhere.



Vietnam War Facts

25th Infantry Division Lineage and Honors

 



 

 



MORE Helpful Web Links
http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/get-service-records.html NARA National Archives, Military Personnel Records
http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/dd-214.html Request a copy of DD Form 214
http://www.va.gov/index.htm Veterans Administration & Benefits
http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/title38.html TITLE 38 Veterans Benefits
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/index.htm Compensation & Pension Benefits
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm Compensation & Pension Exam Info
http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/ Veterans online application web site (VONAPP)
http://www.va.gov/FORMS/default.asp VA Forms
http://www.vva.org/benefits/vvaguide.htm AO, VA Claims and Appeals, PTSD, VVA's Guide To Veterans Preference
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/herbicide/AOno3.htm The VA's guide on Agent Orange claims
http://www.ssa.gov Social Security Online
http://www.ssa.gov/disability/ Social Security Disability Information
http://www.senate.gov/ U.S. Senate
http://www.house.gov/Welcome.html U.S. House of Representatives



Letter recieved from DOA after the tour of duty in Vietnam





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