Tropic Lightning Division meets mission

| December 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

U.S. Army Ranger 1st Lt. John Barr, assigned to 25th Infantry Division, competes in the Urban Assault Course during the Best Ranger Competition 2017, on Fort Benning, Ga., April 7, 2017. The 34th annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition 2017 is a three-day event consisting of challenges to test competitor’s physical, mental, and technical capabilities. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kristen Dobson)

25th Infantry Division
Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Tropic Lightning Division used 2017 to focus on the Chief of Staff of the Army’s No. 1 priority: readiness.
In doing so, the Division prepared to deploy, fight and win tonight while working with allies and partner nations to improve regional stability and security.

The Pacific Command area of responsibility requires a versatile land-force capable of operations across the spectrum of contingencies, and the Tropic Lightning Division took advantage of every training opportunity, participating in training exercises across the Pacific.

Elements of the Division took part in all of U.S. Army-Pacific’s Pacific Pathways exercise series designed to build and improve relationships with partner nations’ militaries while improving the ability for those forces to conduct operations together. Through these nine exercises, Tropic Lightning Soldiers from each of the brigades engaged and trained with their counterparts from partner nations such as the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and Indonesia.

Soldiers from the 25th ID “Tropic Lightning” perform the Ha‘a Koa, Chant of the Warrior, during the division review wrapping up Tropic Lightning Week. This year the 25th ID celebrated its 76th birthday with a week of sports activities and observances, wrapping up the week with a division review at Weyand Field, Oct. 5. (Photo by Sgt. Maurice Gaddy, 28th Public Affairs Detachment)

The division was also able to continue its training with partner nations from its home-station on Oahu through exercises such as Talisman Saber and Yama Sakura. By sharing best practices, the Division is better prepared to conduct the spectrum of operations with our partners, whether the mission is humanitarian aid and disaster relief or high-intensity conflict.

While remaining regionally engaged, the Division also re-focused its efforts on training at the Division and Brigade levels at home and abroad. The Division staff conducted the Army’s premier training event at the Headquarters level in April, a Division level Warfighter exercise. It then supported its higher Headquarters, America’s First Corps, during the Corps’ level Warfighter exercise through most of November.

Sgt. Derrick Bernard, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with 25 th Special troops Battalion, 25 th Sustainment Brigade, disassembles a M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) July 19, during the communications test for the noncommissioned officer of the quarter board competition. (Photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

To further meet the needs of readiness, elements from each Brigade spent an extensive amount of time conducting training here on Oahu and Hawaii Island, which prepared them for large-scale collective training exercises like the annual Lightning Forge.

This year, 3rd Brigade Combat Team became the primary training audience for Lightning Forge to prepare the brigade for its Joint Readiness Training Center rotation at Fort Polk, Louisiana. 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team completed its JRTC rotation during the spring and helped train 3rd BCT ahead of its evaluation. The 25th Sustainment Brigade also supported 3rd BCT during Lightning Forge and 2nd IBCT during its rotation.

The Lightning Support Brigade also traveled to Pohakuloa Training Area to conduct a monthlong field training exercise to test its ability to self-sustain and defend against opposing forces. In addition to personal readiness, the brigade focused on supporting units across the Pacific with a high transportation and maintenance operational tempo.

The sustainment brigade also successfully deployed two of its companies, the 40th Composite Supply Company “Night Marchers” and the 536th Support Maintenance Company “Legionnaires” in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom Sentinel in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Even as they focused on training, Tropic Lightning Soldiers remained engaged with our local communities. The Division’s units routinely engaged with local partners and ohana at neighborhood boards or through the school partnership programs.

The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade proved instrumental in fighting local wildfires and protecting endangered species in the Waianae Mountains on Oahu this past summer. Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and one Chinook dropped thousands of gallons of water, more than quadrupling the capacity of local emergency response services, allowing for the fire’s containment.

In late July, Wolfhound Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment and 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Regt. continued a more than 65-year-old tradition when they welcomed four children from Holy Family Home Orphanage in Japan to Hawaii. The children stayed with Wolfhound host families until Aug. 6, visiting local beaches and various attractions on the island, such as the Honolulu Museum of Art School and Waikiki Aquarium.

The partnership between 25th Sustainment Brigade and the residents around the Kahuku Training Area is also strong. Soldiers helped the residents clean beaches to help keep Oahu beautiful.

This type of character and commitment is indicative of the Division’s Soldiers.

Another example is Maj. Christopher Mercado, the executive officer in 3rd BCT’s 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment. This deserving leader was selected as the Army Times’ Soldier of the Year for his contributions to help veterans combat suicide.

Mercado established his own nonprofit organization, Operation Zero Foundation, which provides resources to veterans in need through the app “Objective Zero.”

The 25th Infantry Division continued to add to its storied history in 2017 and stands ready to answer the nation’s call if needed. As 2018 begins, readiness will continue to be the focus as the Division proudly stands as America’s Force in the Pacific.

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Category: News, Year in Review

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