Health, history, installation upgrades define 2017

| December 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Cycling instructor Carlie Lawes, right, leads her class in an hourlong cardio workout on Jan. 10. (Photo by Karen A. Iwamoto, Oahu Publications)

Jack Wiers
Pau Hana Editor

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — For members of U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, 2017 will likely be remembered as a time of community growth evolving from a heightened sense of the installation, its history, institutions and architecture.

Highlights for the community this year also included health and fitness initiatives and achievements.

Health and well-being
The January Fitness Resolution Expo launched with programs from the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Tripler Army Medical Center’s Nutrition Outreach; the Exchange’s “Be Fit”; and the Schofield Barracks Fitness Center.

Vietnam War correspondent Denby Fawcett (right) describes her photo of 25th Infantry Division Soldiers conducting a sweep in search of a fellow Soldier with Allison Ramsey, curator, U.S. Army Museum Hawaii. The ‘Reporting from Vietnam: War Correspondents in the Field’ exhibit runs through the end of July at the Fort DeRussy-based museum. (Photo by Tony Grillo)

In February, the Army Wellness Center challenged the community with the “Spark Your Inner Fire Challenge,” while community events such as the Swamp Romp at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, and the Great Aloha Run in Honolulu generated official and unofficial unit participation.

Both casual and serious runners were treated to history lessons and spectacular scenic views during the Kolekole 10K in March, and later in the year during a historic WAAF fun run.

Col. Stephen E. Dawson, the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii commander, heads back down Kolekole Pass, during the Kolekole 10K, March 11. The race returned for its second year, and was open to the military and the public. The Kolekole 10K is part of the Hawaii Armed Forces Joint Race Series. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Col. Stephen E. Dawson, the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii commander, heads back down Kolekole Pass, during the Kolekole 10K, March 11. The race returned for its second year, and was open to the military and the public. The Kolekole 10K is part of the Hawaii Armed Forces Joint Race Series. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Health and fitness dividends paid off later in the year with a team from U.S. Army Hawaii winning the over-40 Mixed Masters division at the prestigious Army Ten-Miler in Washington in October.

History celebrated
Respect for installation institutions and Hawaii’s history took many forms in 2017.

In September, Native Hawaiian leaders joined Army leaders at Soldiers Chapel to celebrate the birthday of Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, in the chapel she had built for U.S. Soldiers more than a century ago.

Families gathered in October at the Tropic Lightning Museum for Living History Day, and the Vietnam War was officially recognized in ceremonies throughout the year.

Eric Mueller, left, the living history coordinator with the Hawaii Civil War Roundtable, outfits Caleb Benavente, 9 in a Civil War-era uniform of the 71st Regiment New York State Militia, New York National Guard. (Photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

In May, Hawaii Army Weekly featured a special exhibit at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii at Fort DeRussy that chronicled Vietnam War-era military life and combat operations through the eyes of combat journalists during the turbulent late 1960s, “Reporting from Vietnam, War Correspondents in the Field.”

New and improved
New construction and renovations for key community members also deserved mention in 2017.

A celebration of 100 years of the Armed Services YMCA in August offered a fresh glimpse at the support provided by this valued organization, while also providing a glimpse at the newly renovated WAAF ASYMCA facility.

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — ASYMCA preschool teacher Brianna Perez reads to students in one of the classrooms at the Wheeler branch of the ASYMCA on Monday, May 5. (U.S. Army photo by Karen A. Iwamoto, Oahu Publications)

A new USO Center opened on Schofield Barracks in November.
Of course, the big construction project launch in 2017 was the groundbreaking of the new $90 million Solomon Elementary School campus on Schofield in July. Dignitaries were unified in their praise of the project.

“This (new) facility will truly be state of the art,” Hawaii Gov. David Ige said at the July 6 ceremony. “It gives (students) the opportunity … to get the skills they need to succeed and thrive in the next century.”

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Category: Community, Year in Review

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