Isle general leads
in Afghanistan

Command switches as Maj. Gen. Olson
returns with his Schofield unit

Hawaii-born two-star general Jason Kamiya is taking over command of the 17,900 ground troops in Afghanistan from the head of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks.


Jason Kamiya: The '72 Saint Louis graduate takes command of ground troops in Afghanistan

Kamiya assumed command of the Combined Joint Task Force 76 yesterday at Kandahar, Afghanistan, from Maj. Gen. Eric Olson, commander of the 25th Infantry Division.

Olson and his staff are expected to return today and unfurl the colors of his Schofield Barracks unit at Wheeler Army Air Field, signaling the unit's official return after nearly a year in Afghanistan. The unit has been returning to Oahu in recent weeks.

"I think this is a very strong coalition over here. It continues to be and it's actually growing in strength," Olson said in a Pentagon release yesterday.

Much of the division's training focused on low-intensity warfare, as opposed to major war-fighting operations, Olson said, which is exactly what the soldiers encountered, he added.

More than 5,500 Schofield Barrack soldiers under Olson's command left Hawaii a year ago for Afghanistan. Another 5,000 soldiers commanded by Olson were sent to Iraq, of whom all but about 1,000 are back at Wahiawa.

Kamiya, a 1972 Saint Louis School graduate, deployed to Europe from Vicenza, Italy, with 2,000 soldiers as head of the Southern European Task Force (Airborne). His command will include 3rd and 4th brigades and headquarters elements of the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., and the 53rd Infantry Brigade and headquarters elements from the Florida National Guard.

He is married to the former Carmen Unciano, a 1973 Waimea High School graduate whom he met while attending Gonzaga University in Washington. Kamiya's father, Lawrence, fought with the famed 100th Battalion during World War II.

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