All military services will show their pride, esprit de corps at Great Aloha Run
Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — Every Presidents’ Day, Honolulu hosts the Great Aloha Run, an 8.15-mile race from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium.
As the run began, runners and spectators can hear the chants, cheers and cadence of thousands of service members participating in the Sounds of Freedom.
The Sounds of Freedom is a division of the Great Aloha Run comprised solely of active duty men and women from all branches of service who volunteer for the run.
The division was named based on the comments of a Marine Corps general who said that when people hear cadence being called, whether during the run or on the local installations, it is the sound, and a reminder, of the freedom these young men and women have sworn to protect.
“The Great Aloha Run has always liked having the Sounds of Freedom participate in the run, because they sing cadence and motivate everyone in their vicinity,” said Sgt. Maj. Lisa Williams, the 8th Theater Sustainment Command’s current operations sergeant major and this year’s coordinator for the Sounds of Freedom.
“They don’t run for time,” Williams added. “They run for esprit de corps.”
The run itself has accomplished and achieved many milestones. It was the largest first-time running event in the state with more than 12,000 individuals signing up for it in its first year.
Annually, the Great Aloha Run donates more than $400,000 to the community. During the past 27 years, it has raised more than $9.1 million, awarded to more than 150 nonprofit health and human services organizations and community groups throughout Hawaii, including the Tripler Army Medical Center’s Fisher House and wounded warriors.
This year, the Sounds of Freedom expects to support more than 3,500 service members, using more than 76 buses between Fort Shafter and Schofield Barracks and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam — the logistics of which can’t be described by any other word but incredible.
“We are tasked with making sure everyone gets to and from the race in a timely fashion,” said Williams. “We have about 10 movement noncommissioned officers who will direct all of the 3,500 service members onto the buses and get them down to the staging area. About 15 movement NCOs are tasked with forming up those service members and having them at the starting line. Once they complete the run, they are loaded back up on the buses and driven back to their respective installations.”
Movement is only part of what the 8th TSC is providing the Sounds of Freedom. The unit is also in charge of making sure each Soldier, Sailor, Marine and Airman is hydrated by providing about 10 water buffalos at water points throughout the race.
“Normally, everything goes off without a hitch,” Williams said.” I just hope everyone has a safe run, and we will see them at the finish line.”
Sounds of Freedom
For more information, visit www.greataloharun.com/docs/2012/SOF-race-day-instructions2.pdf.