Troops from the 25th Infantry Division (Light) will be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan next year, marking another chapter in the storied history of "Hawaii's Division." It was activated in 1921 as the Hawaiian Division and became the 25th Infantry Division on Oct. 21, 1941. Seven weeks later on Dec. 7, the 25th saw combat when it returned fire on Japanese aircraft strafing Schofield Barracks, becoming one of the first U.S. Army divisions to see action in World War II.
Anatomy of a 25th Infantry soldier
PHOTOS BY DEAN SENSUI / RESEARCH AND GRAPHICS BY DAVID SWANN / DESIGN BY MICHAEL ROVNER|
The modern combat soldier in the U.S. Army is provided with state-of-the-art equipment and the infantrymen of the 25th are no exception. The troops shown here are fitted with the gear that they will take into combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, except for their tan-colored desert BDUs, which will be issued in January.
Click for larger version
March 23, 1945: A squad leader pointed out a suspected Japanese position at Balete Pass, near Baguio, Luzon, where troops of the 25th were in fierce combat.|
Jan. 16, 1951: Positions were taken by members of Fox Company, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, for action on the western front of Korea. |
May 20, 1966: Members of the 23rd Regiment of the 25th were evacuated during a firefight with the Viet Cong in Operation Wahiawa, north of Cu Chi. |
By the numbers
The 25th Infantry Division is designed to provide rapidly deployable, combat-ready forces. Here are the numbers:
Home: >> Schofield Barracks (16,602 acres)
Soldiers: >> 12,476
Family members: >> 27,000
>> 16 OH-58A Kiowas
>> 44 UH-60 Black Hawks
>> 8 CH-47 Chinooks
>> 600 Humvees
>> 310 Stryker combat vehicles scheduled to be assigned in 2005
>> More than $2.2 billion annually in military construction and contracts
The division's shoulder patch, a lightning bolt superimposed on a taro leaf, was formally adopted in 1943. The colors of gold and red were those of the late Hawaiian monarchy. In 1953, the nickname "Tropic Lightning" was offically adopted.
60 years: Tours of duty
The 25th Infantry Division has served in every major U.S. conflict since World War II and has distinguised itself by earning 41 Medals of Honor:
that span the globe
1. World War II: 1942, Guadalcanal During this pivotal battle, the 25th was the element that tipped the scale in favor of the U.S. side. It earned the nickname "Tropic Lightning" due to the speed with which the division executed its mission.
2. World War II: 1945, The Philippine Campaign The 25th was involved in heavy fighting during the battle of Luzon. The division took part in the battle of Balite Pass, with the troops of the 25th losing more men than any other U.S. division in the Luzon Campaign.
3. 1945: Occupation of Japan Troops of the 25th occupied Japan for 57 months. Charged with processing the homeless and refugees after the war, the division founded an orphanage at Osaka that is still in existence.
4. 1950 - 1953: Korean War The 25th was involved in combat against the North Koreans in 1950 during the northward drive toward the Yalu River bordering China. However, the 25th had to retreat when the Chinese army launched a massive assault. In 1953, the division was ordered to guard Seoul, repelling a major enemy attack. Members of the 25th were awarded 13 Medals of Honor, making it the most decorated division of the war.
5. 1965 - 1971: Vietnam War The 25th arrived at Pleiku during Operation Blue Light, the largest airlift of U.S. groundforces ever undertaken at that time. From 1966 to 1970, the division fought the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army north and west of Saigon. During the Tet Offensive in January 1968, the division defended Saigon from enemy attacks. The troops of the 25th served for 1,716 days in Vietnam, earned 21 Medals of Honor, and fought effectively until the last members of the division returned to Hawaii in 1971.
6. 1991: Gulf War In February, troops of the 25th pushed into Kuwait City and conducted mop-up operations in the city and adjacent mine fields. The division suffered no casualties during Operation Desert Storm.
7. 1995: Haiti More than 3,700 soldiers from the 25th deployed to Haiti in early 1995 during Operation Uphold Democracy. The division assisted Haiti's government in establishing law and order, and developed the infrastructure and conditions necessary for promoting democracy.
8. 2002: Bosnia In April, 2,500 troops from the 25th were deployed, serving alongside soldiers from Russia, Turkey, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Lithuania and Norway.
9. 2004: Iraq In the first large-scale deployment of the division since the Vietnam War, about 4,500 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, Aviation Brigade and 45th Corps Support Group will be sent to Iraq in February in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
10. 2004: Afghanistan In April, 3,500 troops from the 3rd Brigade, Aviation Brigade and the Division Headquarters will be deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sources: U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii; 25th Infantry Division Association; GlobalSecurity.org