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Brief History

Brief History

In 1873, Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield surveyed Pearl Harbor to evaluate its military potential, and for more than a century, Hawaii has played a major role as a headquarters for the U.S. Army in the Pacific.

Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States annexed Hawaii. With the annexation of the islands, Soldiers of the 1st New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 2nd U.S. Volunteer Engineers arrived in Honolulu Aug. 16, 1898, establishing Camp McKinley near Diamond Head. The Army’s mission was to defend Oahu and the newly established naval station at Pearl Harbor.

Fort Shafter, the first permanent Army post in Hawaii, was established in 1907. As a companion installation, Schofield Barracks began in 1909 on the Leilehua Plain in the central region of Oahu. Between 1908 and 1911, coastal defense guns were placed along the southern coasts at forts Ruger, DeRussy, Armstrong, Kamehameha and Weaver.

U.S. Army, Pacific (USARPAC)

U.S. Army, Pacific (USARPAC) traces its history back to 1898, when the United States first became a Pacific power and American Soldiers first arrived in Hawaii.

Hawaii soon became a power-projection platform for military operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Fort Shafter was built from 1905 to 1907 and in 1921 became the headquarters for the Hawaiian Department.

When Army and Navy forces in Hawaii and the Philippines came under attack Dec. 7, 1941, Hawaii quickly became a strategic hub. The Hawaiian Department became the Army component command under the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas. As the campaigns progressed, the command was designated U.S. Army Forces, Central Pacific Area (1943 to 1944); U.S. Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas (1944 to 1945); and U.S. Army Forces, Middle Pacific (1945 to 1947). Its insignia, designed in 1944, depicted the axis of advance across the Central Pacific.

In 1947, the command was redesignated U.S. Army, Pacific.

During the Korean War, USARPAC provided combat forces, training and logistical support. In 1957, the Joint Chiefs of Staff eliminated the Far East Command in favor of a single U.S. Pacific Command, and USARPAC took control of all Army forces in the region.

During the Vietnam War, USARPAC once again provided combat forces, training and logistical support for U.S. Army, Vietnam. After the war, the Army reduced its presence in the region and reorganized.

In 1974, USARPAC was eliminated as a component command, and Army forces in Korea and Japan became separate major commands.

In Hawaii, USARPAC headquarters was superseded by U.S. Army Support Command Hawaii (USASCH) and a Department of the Army field operating agency, U.S. Army CINCPAC Support Group.

In 1979, the Army established U.S. Army Western Command (WESTCOM) as a major command and the Army component of U.S. Pacific Command. WESTCOM took command of Army forces in Hawaii. In 1989, it added U.S. Army Alaska and in 1990 U.S. Army Japan. Also in 1990, WESTCOM was renamed USARPAC.

Since the end of the Cold War, USARPAC has remained engaged throughout the Asia-Pacific region, providing trained and ready, Active and Reserve Component combat and enabling forces and playing a key role in U.S. Pacific Command’s theater security cooperation program. It has sent peacekeeping forces to the Sinai Peninsula, Haiti, East Timor and Bosnia. Since Sept. 11, 2001, USARPAC has deployed more than 130,000 Soldiers to military operations overseas. The command engages in more than 191 activities in 34 countries annually and conducts more than 24 large-scale exercises with Asia-Pacific partners and allies. USARPAC has played a vital role in homeland defense for Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. In years to come, USARPAC will remain vital to our national security strategy in this dynamic region.

In October 2011, Eighth Army was integrated into the U.S. Army Pacific Command (USARPAC) to enhance the U.S. Army’s expeditionary capabilities within the Asia Pacific region while maintaining a forward presence in the Republic of Korea.

Today, USARPAC’s area of responsibility covers almost half of the earth’s surface in an area spread across 105 million miles of territory that contains six of the world’s largest armies and four of the world’s most populous countries. Five of the seven nations that have signed mutual defense treaties with the U.S. are in the Pacific region.

USARPAC proudly provides more than 105,000 trained and ready Soldiers to deter aggression, advance regional security and cooperation, and respond to crises across the Asia and Pacific region.

25th Infantry Division (ID)

The 25th Infantry Division formed Oct. 1, 1941 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Its lineage can be traced to the Hawaiian Division, which defended Hawaii from 1921 to 1941. The division received its baptism of fire when Japanese forces attacked Oahu Dec. 7, 1941. In November 1942, the 25th Infantry Division was ordered into action against the Japanese in the Solomon Islands. Due to its superior performance during operations in the Solomons, the division earned the nickname “Tropic Lightning.” The division also took part in the liberation of the Philippine Islands, landing on the island of Luzon in January 1945, and fought for 165 days without rest. After World War II, Tropic Lightning performed occupation duty in Japan.

In the summer of 1950, the 25th Infantry Division was called to action in South Korea against communist aggression. Tropic Lightning deployed from Japan and immediately began operations to defend the city of Pusan. After weeks of bitter fighting, the division broke out of the “Pusan Perimeter” in September 1950 with U.S. and United Nations forces. Most of Korea was liberated when Chinese forces joined the fighting in November 1950, forcing allied forces south once again. Tropic Lightning began retaking lost territory in January 1951, fighting bitter battles until July 27, 1953, when an armistice took effect. The 25th Infantry Division returned home to Hawaii in October 1954 after a 12-year absence, with the freedom of South Korea preserved.

In December 1965, Tropic Lightning answered another call to fight against communism and deployed to fight in the Vietnam War. In a massive airlift, the 3rd “Bronco” Brigade deployed to the central highlands at Pleiku, while the division headquarters, along with the 1st “Lancer” and 2nd “Warrior” brigades, were transported by sea. By April 1966, all division units were in country with the headquarters established in Cu Chi district, 20 miles northwest of Saigon. The Vietnam War was unlike previous conflicts; the enemy fought from the shadows and hid among the population. During its five years in South Vietnam, the 25th Infantry Division engaged in operations to destroy its elusive enemy, to include fighting during the Tet Offensive of 1968 and offensives against enemy sanctuaries in Cambodia during 1970. By April 1971, all division units had returned to Hawaii after a seven-year fight in Southeast Asia.

The organization of the 25th Infantry Division changed in 1985 when it was selected to reorganize into a light infantry formation. In 1995, the division headquarters, along with the 2nd and 3rd brigades, were sent to Haiti as part of Operation Uphold Democracy. The 25th Infantry Division continued peacekeeping missions into the 21st century as 1,000 Tropic Lightning Soldiers deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina from April to September 2002 as part of Stabilization Force XI. Division Soldiers took part in mine-clearing operations, reconstruction and the destruction of weapons turned in by civilians to help Bosnia-Herzegovina rebuild after a devastating civil war.

At the dawn of the 21st century, the 25th Infantry Division was thrust into its fourth war. In 2004, Tropic Lightning first deployed in support of overseas contingency operations. Like the insurgents the division fought in the Vietnam War, the enemy avoided open battle and blended into the population. During the course of eight years, Tropic Lightning units were present at pivotal events in the war against terrorism: the first free elections in Afghanistan in 2004 and Iraq in 2005; the Iraqi “Surge” of 2007; the implementation of the Iraqi Security Agreement in 2009; and the Afghan “Surge” of 2011. During this same period, the 25th Infantry Division reorganized into modular combat formations as part of an Army-wide transformation into a more agile force.

In January 2010, the division headquarters reorganized as Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. In December of that year, HHBN, 25th ID, departed on its third deployment to Iraq. The division headquarters was given the task of overseeing U.S. forces in Baghdad and Anbar provinces as Headquarters, United States Division-Center during Operation New Dawn. Tropic Lightning Soldiers partnered with Iraqi Security Forces to increase their capabilities and conduct joint operations against insurgents, while simultaneously transferring facilities to Iraqi government control. These missions had to be completed by the end of 2011 in accordance with the 2008 Security Agreement. In the summer of 2011, the division headquarters was given an additional mission: safeguard American troops as they departed Iraq, and be the last division headquarters to leave. By the time Tropic Lightning completed its mission Dec. 18, 2011, thousands of troops retrograded out of Iraq under its aegis, and dozens of bases were transferred to the government of Iraq. Through its outstanding performance, the 25th Infantry Division completed its final mission in Iraq with honor.

While the headquarters was in Iraq, the 1st and 3rd BCTs deployed to Afghanistan in the spring of 2011, followed by the 4th BCT and CAB in November 2011. While in Afghanistan, these units fought hard to preserve freedom and democracy against insurgent forces that were bent on keeping misery and subjugation alive. Missions included fighting and defeating enemy forces, as well as preparing local security and governance institutions for the day when they will stand on their own. By early 2013, all Tropic Lightning units had returned to their home stations.

For more than seven decades, the 25th Infantry Division has fought in some of the most important conflicts of the 20th and early 21st centuries. From the jungles of the Solomons and Vietnam, to the mountains of Korea and Afghanistan, to the deserts of Iraq, Soldiers of Tropic Lightning have fought for freedom throughout the world, and remain “Ready To Strike — Anywhere, Anytime.”

8th Theater Sustainment Command

The Headquarters, Headquarters Company and Special Troops, 8th Field Army Support Command (8th FASCOM), was constituted Feb. 5, 1968, and activated March 1, 1968, in Korea. Field Army Support Commands provided logistical support to the Field Army units in Vietnam, as the Army recognized the need for a centralized logistics organization.

The unit inactivated June 21, 1971 at Fort Lewis, Washington, and was redesignated April 14, 2005, as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. The former 45th Corps Support Group inactivated Jan. 11, 2006, and reorganized as the 8th Theater Sustainment Command (Provisional).

The 8th Theater Sustainment Command activated Sept. 15, 2006. Today, the 8th TSC consists of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Human Resources Sustainment Center, 8th Military Police Brigade, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 130th Engineer Brigade and the 10th Area Support Group — under operational control for logistics.

U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii

The U.S. Army in Hawaii traces its history to the District of Hawaii, a command formed in 1910 as a sub-element of the Department of California. The district headquarters was initially based at Schofield Barracks. In 1911, the Hawaiian Department replaced the district, and then reported directly to the War Department in Washington.

Initially headquartered in the Alexander Young Hotel in downtown Honolulu, the department moved to its permanent home at Fort Shafter in 1921. That same year, the distinctive red octagon insignia bearing the letter “H” was adopted by the Hawaiian Department. The colors symbolize ancient Hawaiian royalty, and the eight sides represent the principal islands of the Hawaiian chain. The department was the senior headquarters for the Army in Hawaii.

After the outbreak of World War II, the Hawaiian Department was charged with a variety of logistical support and installation functions and was also renamed the Hawaiian Department Service Force. In 1943, the organization was renamed again to become the Army Port and Service Command. Its commanding general was given responsibility as Commander, U.S. Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Area in 1944, under the operational control of the Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC).

In the years after World War II, the old Hawaiian Department headquarters was formally abolished, and Headquarters U.S. Army, Pacific (USARPAC), was established in 1947. Installation support functions under USARPAC were accomplished by several short-lived organizations until 1957, when a new dual command was created — U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii, and the 25th Infantry Division — under one commanding general at Schofield Barracks.

These two elements were separated once again in 1960 into two commands, with U.S. Army, Hawaii (USARHAW) assuming the installation support role.

U.S. Army, Hawaii was discontinued Dec. 31, 1972, and the U.S. Army Support Command, Hawaii (USASCH), was established Jan. 1, 1973, to succeed USARHAW as the command responsible for installation services. It was temporarily headquartered at Schofield Barracks. When USARPAC was eliminated as a major command in 1973, USASCH was returned to Fort Shafter and became the senior Army headquarters in Hawaii, once again providing installation and base support, as well as action as the Army command element of CINCPAC, the Pacific joint command. When the U.S. Army Western Command was created from USASCH in 1979, to become the major Army element in CINCPAC, USASCH reverted to its traditional role as an installation and base support service command.

On March 1, 1992, U.S. Army, Hawaii was re-established and was comprised of the 25th Infantry Division (Light), USASCH, 45th Corps Support Group (Forward), and the U.S. Army Law Enforcement Command (Prov). The Commander, 25th Infantry Division (Light) and U.S. Army, Hawaii replaced the command, USASCH, as the installation commander. On Jan. 6, 1994, USASCH was redesignated as U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii (USAG-HI) and is headquartered at Wheeler Army Airfield.

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