Gathering of Eagles supports warriors of 2nd SBCT

| September 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Maj. Kari McEwen
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat
Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, gathered with Hawaii Island residents for a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, Sept. 11.

The ceremony featured howitzers staged in a V formation, firing four rounds of white smoke and two rounds of high explosives in remembrance of the lives lost Sept. 11, 2001, and in honor of the service men and women who gave their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

After the ceremony, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Buck, commander, 2-11th FA Regt., addressed his unit and the visitors in attendance.

Among those paying their respects was Robert Gowan, Hawaii state coordinator for the nonprofit Gathering of Eagles (GOE), as well as 16 Kona coffee farmers who volunteer with the organization.

GOE works closely with the United Service Organizations (USO) to provide support to Hawaii troops, both at home and abroad.

Since 2008, Gowan has worked side-by-side with Kona coffee farmers to personally pack and ship more than 3 tons of donated Kona coffee to Hawaii-based Soldiers, Marines and Sailors deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Kona coffee effort first began when Gowan contacted the rear detachment commander with 2nd Bn., 14th Cavalry Regt., 2nd SBCT, to begin sending coffee to Soldiers serving in Camp Taji, Iraq.

Locally, GOE volunteers provide Soldiers traveling to PTA refreshments to keep them hydrated while working to move vehicles and equipment on and off the transport ships in Kawaihae Harbor.

“I really enjoyed working with my battle buddies chaining the trucks we use for training on to the shipping boat, and I know I speak for the rest of the ‘chain gang group’ when I say we appreciate the water and also all the food that was brought to us. Thanks for the support,” said Pvt. Kaquan Thomas, 225th Bde. Support Bn., 2nd SBCT.

Gowan’s Belgian Shepherd Malinois, Dixie, also has become an unofficial mascot for 25th ID units traveling to PTA for training. In fact, Dixie attended the remembrance ceremony, but rarely made an appearance outside the vehicle once the firing started.

Gowan attributes the success of both service projects to the generosity of the Kona coffee farmers and the volunteers who run the refreshment station at the port.

“The port refreshment operation supports on average 200-300 Soldiers and Marines on any given movement day,” said Gowan.

Gowan also expressed his gratitude to the USO.

“Without the support that they provide us each month, what we do would be a lot more difficult,” he said.

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Category: News, Observances

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