‘Tropic Lightning’ rededicates parade field

| October 6, 2011 | 0 Comments
Mary Weyand (left), wife of Gen. Fredrick Weyand; and Col. Matthew Kelly (right), deputy commander, 25th ID (Rear), place a lei around the plaque naming the parade field at Schofield Barracks after Weyand, Sept. 30.

Mary Weyand (left), wife of Gen. Fredrick Weyand; and Col. Matthew Kelly (right), deputy commander, 25th ID (Rear), place a lei around the plaque naming the parade field at Schofield Barracks after Weyand, Sept. 30.

Story and Photos by
Staff Sgt. Ricardo Branch
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers, veterans, family members and civilians celebrated the 70th anniversary of the “Tropic Lightning” Division during a rededication ceremony, here, Sept. 30.

The ceremony brought past and present members of the 25th Infantry Division together to pay tribute to one of its former senior leaders – Gen. Fredrick Weyand.

“We honor our history today by memorializing this storied parade field and naming it after one of our greatest leaders, Gen. Weyand,” said Col. Matthew Kelly, deputy commander, 25th ID (Rear).

The field, formerly known as Sills Field, was rededicated to Weyand – the last commander in charge of military operations in Vietnam, and a former division commander for the Tropic Lightning Division – marking the continued legacy of honoring past Soldiers of the division.

Retired Gen. David Bramlett, reviewing officer for the ceremony, spoke about the admiration Weyand had for all Soldiers past and present.

“Gen. Weyand was first among your admirers,” said Bramlett, speaking to Soldiers gathered on the field. “Rarely did he ever give a speech without thanking Soldiers for what they did, what they have done and what they represent.”

When he served on active duty, Weyand devoted much of his time to what mattered to him: Soldiers and their families.

“He understood the stresses and strains placed on our Army families,” Bramlett said. “Even when he took us to Vietnam in 1965, he left behind one of our most able senior officers with one command: ‘Take care of the families while we go.’

“Even then,” Bramlett continued, “Weyand understood the importance of families and rarely gave a speech that didn’t give credit to the Army family.”

In 1964, Weyand assumed command of 25th ID in Hawaii, and moved with it to Vietnam 18 months later. Upon redeployment from Vietnam, Weyand assumed command of U.S. Army-Pacific.

He became the 28th Chief of Staff of the Army in 1974 and served in that position until he retired from active duty in September 1976, and then returned to Honolulu where he remained active in the business, military and philanthropic communities.

He died Feb. 10, 2010, of natural causes. He was 93.

“Whenever you pass, march or conduct physical training on this field, remember the name Weyand,” Bramlett said. “Remember what he stood for (and) what he has done for our nation, Army and division and also for each of us. We will be better for it.”

Following the ceremony, the division’s veterans walked on the field to meet the current generation of Soldiers, and to share stories, experiences and memories of the 25th ID and Weyand.

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