SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The exchanging of gifts is one way of showing a common bond between friends. The friendship forged between the government of Iraq and the 25th Infantry Division is now on full display for all to see.

Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., commanding general, 25th Infantry Division, donated several items which were presented to the division as gifts from Iraqi partners during its recent deployment to northern Iraq, to the Tropic Lightning Museum at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Feb. 4.

"These gifts represent the Task Force Lightning Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-11 tour. It is a symbol that the Soldiers served with honor, accomplished their mission and were able to return home to their families," said Caslen.

Items such as a silk rug, a wool rug, a gold watch and a gold necklace and earring set were presented to the museum. Kathleen Ramsden, the Tropic Lightning Museum curator, accepted the gifts on behalf of the museum.

"It would be wonderful to display these items in the museum to help military members and civilians understand the good impact we are having in Iraq and the appreciation we get from the Iraqi people," said Ramsden.

The rugs and watch were presented by Kurdish Regional Government officials to Caslen, who noted the long-standing U.S. support of the Kurdish people in Iraq.

"The relationship between the Kurdish people and the Americans is significant because the Kurds always remember what we did back in 1991 right after the Gulf War. The United States helped build and prepare their defense system against Saddam Hussein's army. Since then, America has been giving the support they need to have a stable [Iraq]," said Caslen.

During the presentation, Shelly Caslen donated the gold necklace and earring set, a gift given to her by Dahok province officials, on behalf of all Task Force Lightning spouses.

"What we thought would be appropriate is to give it to the museum on behalf of all the spouses that supported their Soldier's spouse out on deployment," said Maj. Gen. Caslen.

Caslen also gave Ramsden a signed copy of the division's historical book, which documented Task Force Lightning's deployment in northern Iraq from December 2008 to November 2009.

Ramsden said the items received by the museum will be a good addition to 25th Inf. Div. history, and that she plans to send the wool rug to the Fort DeRussy museum.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16