In the Military
Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Festivities scheduled
for welcome home

A welcome home celebration will be held at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay for the more than 900 members of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment at 2 p.m. May 12.

Part of the event will be to honor the 43 Marines and two sailors assigned to the 1st Battalion who were killed during the unit's four months in Iraq, including:

» Eight Kaneohe Marines who died in the bitter month-long Fallujah campaign in November.

» Twenty-six Marines and one Navy corpsman who were killed in the Jan. 26 CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crash. It was the worst single-day death toll in the Marine Corps since the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut.

» Shortly after the unit arrived in Iraq, seven Kaneohe Marines and one Marine based on Okinawa were killed on Oct. 30 in Al Anbar province when a suicide bomber drove into their convoy.

Wahiawa Lions Club, city, Army, business and community leaders will host two days of homecoming activities May 21-22 at Schofield Barracks for soldiers who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan last year. The events on each day will begin at noon and will provide entertainment, food booths, pony rides, crafters, and artists at a community market place. The activities will conclude with showings of the movie "Finding Neverland" on May 21 and "National Treasure" on May 22.

The Air Force has reactivated the 535th Airlift Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base as the first C-17 Globemaster overseas squadron. It is commanded by Lt. Col. Chris Davis and will be partnered with the Hawaii Air National Guard's 204th Airlift Squadron. The first 535th Fighter Squadron was activated in Virginia in 1943.

The C-17 will arrive in January from Boeing's Long Beach facilities, with the remaining seven following at a rate of one per month. Half of the 90 people assigned to the Hickam unit will be at work by January.

A $190 million facility that will consist of three buildings for training, operations and maintenance, and a flight simulator, is expected to be completed this summer about the same time the first Hawaii-bound C-17 rolls off the assembly line. The C-17 is part of the military's continued contingency, humanitarian and strategic airlift operation in the Pacific, including moving the 25th Infantry Division's new Stryker combat brigade.

Moving Up

Schofield Barracks:

» Col. Michael McBride has assumed command of the 25th Infantry Division Support Command, relieving Col. Richard Hatch.

» Brig. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, 25th Division Infantry assistant division commander for operations, will become deputy chief of legislative liaison in Office of the Secretary of the Army in Washington, D.C.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other
sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for
the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He can be reached can be reached by phone
at 294-4075 or by e-mail at gkakesako@starbulletin.com.

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