USARPAC marks 241 years of the American Soldier

| June 17, 2016 | 0 Comments
The traditional cake cutting followed dinner. Representing the past, present and future successes of United States Army Pacific were Gen. Robert B. Brown, USARPAC commanding general (middle), the command's most senior commissioned officer; Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant Lambert (right), USARPAC's senior enlisted leader; the command's youngest Soldier, Pvt. Wendy Hall of the 558th Military Police Company, Schofield Barracks; and Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Jim Hastings (left) who represented the most senior Army Soldier.

(From left) Representing the past, present and future of USARPAC are retired Brig. Gen. Jim Hastings; Gen. Robert B. Brown, commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant Lambert; and youngest Soldier Pvt. Wendy Hall, 558th MP Co.

 

Staff Sgt. Christopher McCullough
U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs Office

 

HONOLULU – In observance of the Army’s 241st birthday and 118 years presence in the Pacific, U.S. Army-Pacific celebrated at its Army Birthday Commemoration, June 10.

This year’s theme was “The American Soldier – Always Ready, Always Leading.”

Gen. Robert B. Brown, USARPAC commanding general, told the audience that while they were gathered to celebrate the Army’s 241st birthday, they were also there to commemorate the Army’s 118th year of commitment to the Pacific region.

“Our Continental Army was established 241 years ago, and here in the Pacific, specifically, 118 years ago, we established forces … and they’ve participated in 63 campaigns since then,” said Brown. “That’s about a third of the 189 campaigns the Army’s been involved in, and the most in any region outside the Americas.”

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The Tropic Lightning Band provides inspirational melodies and music for the crowd more than 700 attendees, June 10. The band concluded the evening with their rendition of unit songs from each of 10 active divisions in the Army, followed by the “Army Song.”

He also noted that this year not only are they celebrating the Army’s birthday, but they are also commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands where the 25th Infantry Division earned its nickname, “Tropic Lightning”; the 66th anniversary of the Korean War; and the 51st anniversary of the Vietnam War. Brown also noted that people are the reason for our Army.

“People are what gives us our edge in battle, what sustains our Army, and what makes us the envy of the world,” Brown said. “People are why we and so many of our allies enjoy freedom so much.”

He went on to add that the Army continues that that legacy today, and we do so also in part because of the dedication, sacrifice and love of our supporting cast of families, friends and local communities.

“Whether you’re a Soldier, a veteran, a family member, an Army civilian or a community member, you’re a part of history and a part of our story,” Brown said. “So, we’re all proud that you’re here tonight, that you’re part of that team, and you are the people making a difference.”

The traditional cake cutting followed dinner. Representing the past, present, and future successes of United States Army Pacific was: Brown, the command’s most senior commissioned officer; Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant Lambert, USARPAC’s senior enlisted leader; the command’s youngest Soldier, Pvt. Wendy Hall of the 558th Military Police Company, Schofield Barracks and Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Jim Hastings who represented the most senior Army Soldier.

Awards were then presented to the USARPAC Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year after a weeklong Best Warrior Competition. Sgt. Joseph W. Polcsa, from the 25th ID, Schofield Barracks, and Spc. Robert D. Miller, from 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Fort Shafter, will represent USARPAC at the Department of the Army-level Best Warrior Competition in October.

The evening’s festivities drew to an end with the ceremonial toast and a word from the Honorable Daniel K. Akaka, a Hawaii U.S. Representative (1976-1990) and Senator (1990-2013), who was on hand to receive the Mana O Ke Koa “Spirit of the Warrior” Award which honors individuals who have distinguished themselves by their steadfast support of Soldiers, their families and the Army community.

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Gen. Robert B. Brown, commander, and senior enlisted adviser Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant Lambert, present the Mana O Ke Koa “Spirit of the Warrior” Award to the retired Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, a Hawaii U.S. Representative (1976-1990) and Senator (1990-2013). Akaka was on hand Friday evening to receive the Mana O Ke Koa “Spirit of the Warrior” Award which honors individuals who have distinguished themselves by their steadfast support of Soldiers, their Families and the Army community. The award was established by USARPAC in June 2007, coinciding with the centennial celebration of Fort Shafter. The Mana O Ke Koa award is symbolized by the Kahili, handcrafted in the traditional Hawaiian manner and made entirely of wood, bone and feathers. Kahili were used in ancient Hawaiian times in the same way as European nobility used shields with coats of arms. Hawaiian nobility used the Kahili to show status, lineage and family ties. Akaka shared how honored he was to have served in the Army, how he is what he is today, and how he has been able to do what he has done, thanks to his service in the U.S. Army. “I’m so grateful and appreciate the privileges that I have in helping our country’s security to the United States Army,” Akaka said. “I want to tell you that the Army made a huge difference in my life.”

“This is a great honor for me, and also it brings up the pride in me for our country,” said Akaka. “Thank you so much for this great honor. I’m so proud to be here amongst those who have been supporting our country and keeping the security.

Akaka, who served in the Army Corps of Engineers (1945-1947), and was America’s first Senator of native Hawaiian ancestry, addressed the crowd of over 700 attendees about the significance of the evening’s event. He shared how honored he was to have served in the Army, how he is what he is today, and how he has been able to do what he has done, thanks to his service in the U.S. Army.

“I’m so grateful and appreciate the privileges that I have in helping our country’s security to the United States Army,” Akaka said. “I want to tell you that the Army made a huge difference in my life.”

The celebration, hosted in the Coral Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, was open to Soldiers from across the Army – active duty, National Guard, Reserves and ROTC – as well as Department of the Army civilians, government contractors, family members, retirees, veterans and invited guests.

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USARPAC Soldiers who competed in the Best Warrior Competition stand shoulder-to-shoulder following the presentation of awards. Spc. Robert D. Miller, from 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Fort Shafter, and Sgt. Joseph W. Polcsa, from the 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, were named USARPAC Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. They will represent USARPAC at the Department of the Army-level Best Warrior Competition in October.

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