WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - Another unit of the 25th Infantry Division (ID) has cased its colors and will soon join the fight in support of Operation "Iraqi Freedom."
The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) held its deployment ceremony at Wheeler Army Airfield, Aug. 10, signifying the official start of the unit's deployment to northern Iraq.
Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commanding general, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, served as the senior commander and guest speaker during the 25th CAB's ceremony.
"Today we honor the Soldiers on the field as they prepare to deploy to Iraq for the third time in five years," said Terry, who has previously served with the 25th ID. "I'm personally honored to stand here before you as you take your place in the long, distinguished history of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade - a lineage that goes back many years."
The 25th CAB will assume responsibility for aviation operations in the large, northern section of Iraq known as Multinational Division-North (MND-N). The "Wings of Lightning" Brigade successfully conducted operations in MND-N during its last deployment from July 2006 to October 2007.
Terry, who has spent time within the "Tropic Lightning" Division, marveled at the group of volunteer Soldiers in the formations before him.
"No wonder this generation of volunteer Soldiers has been called the 'next greatest generation,'" he said. "Less than one percent of the United States population serves in the military carrying the heavy load for our Nation. Our Nation is blessed to have such a selfless group of men and women willing to answer the call of duty in a time of war."
Col. Mike Lundy, commander, 25th CAB, also spoke briefly to the formation instilling a historic sense of pride in the troops.
"There isn't a more fitting place to conduct this deployment ceremony than here on the ramp at historic Wheeler Army Airfield. On this very concrete, there still remain the scars of the egregious attack on our nation's soil nearly 70 years ago that brought us into World War II. Now we honor these Soldiers that stand before us as we prepare to deploy again to defend our Nation."
The "Wings of Lightning" commander also spoke of the brigade's future endeavors.
"As we begin our 12-month deployment to northern Iraq in the coming weeks, it's clear that our Nation and the partnership with the Iraqi government and security forces are entering the most important phase of this war. There will be many challenges to test our agility, skills and courage. And during our deployment, there will be numerous critical events that will shape the future of Iraq ... we are the closers to help ensure that Iraq will continue to transition to a free and sovereign nation. "
In closing, Lundy praised the Soldiers and their families for their commitment to the country.
"Thank you to the Soldiers and leaders of this brigade for your commitment and dedication to our Nation and our Army. You are truly our Army's most precious resource. "[And to our families], thank you for your unwavering commitment to your Soldiers and all the sacrifices that you've made as we prepare to deploy, and all the sacrifices that I know you'll make while we're deployed. You're a unique and special group and are the true unsung heroes of our Nation."