Tropic Lightning Challenge 2008 -- 25th ID Celebrates 66 Years if Division History
The 25th Infantry Division marked 66 years of division history with "Tropic Lightning Challenge 2008," the division's annual three-day celebration of camaraderie and competition here, June 30 - July 2. Tropic Lightning Challenge was conceived as a morale-building event to foster unit cohesion and espirit de corps. "Each year, this event brings the division closer by developing new and different bonds through teamwork and most importantly fellowship across the division," said Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota, command sergeant major, 25th Inf. Div. "It's important to recognize that we don't only build teams on deployment in places like Iraq, but we also do it here. This week is an important part of that." Over a three-day span, teams of Soldiers competed in athletic and soldier-skill challenges. This year's events included ultimate football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, tug-of-war and softball competitions, as well as a squad "Endurathon," a golf scramble at neighboring Leilihua Golf Course and a senior leader softball game. Hundreds of Soldiers clad in distinctive, colorful unit t-shirts kicked-off the celebration June 30 with the early morning Division Run. Two days and dozens of sporting matches later, those same t-shirts adorned Stoneman Field for the closing ceremony. There, the week's winners were honored and recognized. Two of those Soldiers whose battalion received "hardware" were Sgt. Marlon Brown and Sgt. Kelly Maxwell, both with the 25th Special Troops Battalion's security detachment. With their help, 25th STB earned top honors in the squad Endurathon. The Endurathon was a six-mile ruck march that included different team challenges at each mile-marker and concluded with a one-mile litter carry. "The Endurathon was challenging and it gave us good insight into how we'll perform when we're deployed," said Sgt. Marlon Brown. "We really know that we have what it takes. The motivation, determination and will power were all there. That's what you need on deployment," said Brown. "No one gave up, and we all picked each other up," emphasized the combat veteran. Sgt. Kelly Maxwell agreed. "It was tough and the really amazing part is that there was no real guidance or preparation for the event," said Maxwell. "Still, we were all motivated to do it, came together as a team when it mattered to win it, and no one quit," he emphasized. Brown and Kelly's commander, Lt. Col. Eric Angeli, commander, 25th STB, was equally impressed with his Soldiers' commitment throughout the week. "The most impressive thing was the competitive spirit that all my Soldiers displayed during the entire competition," said Angeli. "Everyone was helping each other, no one lost their temper and they all seemed to communicate well with each other," he said. "It shows that we're truly on the glide-path to success. I am not only proud of the Special Troops Battalion, but also super proud to be its leader." Pride was the dominant emotion expressed by all leaders that witnessed the camaraderie throughout the week. Among those leaders was the commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. General Caslen commended all participants for a wonderful team-building week, cautioned all to be careful over the holiday weekend, and praised each Soldier's continued commitment to service. "This is a great place to be on the fourth of July weekend, and I have never seen a better celebration of our nation's birthday than what goes on here at Schofield Barracks," said Caslen. "You are not only members of the best division in the Army, but the best army in the world. Be proud of that," he continued. "So when you go out this weekend don't forget that you are part of a great country with great privileges and freedoms that you all represent. You are standing in the gap of protecting it and defending it and preserving it. The security of our country is on your backs," he said. "You ought to be proud of that and I know you are.

Page last updated Mon July 14th, 2008 at 17:53