25th Infantry Division welcomes new commander and receives honors
May 22, 2008
Schofield Barracks - Friends, family and distinguished guests gathered at Sills Field for a change of command ceremony in honor of the incoming and outgoing commanders of the 25th Infantry Division, May 21.
Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek passed the torch of leadership to Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. as representatives from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and 25th Combat Aviation Brigade stood proudly in formation.
"I continue to be amazed by the amount of work that is done in this division, and more impressively, the speed at which it is accomplished. The actions of this division truly live up to our monarch of lightning," said Bednarek. "The Soldiers and leaders in today's Army are hands down the best this nation and our world have ever seen. All of you, Tropic Lighting Soldiers and leaders, continue to be at the forefront of combat readiness."
United States Army Pacific Commander, Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, spoke at the event as he praised both generals for their dedication and leadership to Soldiers.
"It is no surprise that he (Bednarek) has excelled as the Division commander. He has put the division on the absolute right path for its return to Iraq in combat operations. You have my eternal thanks and respect for all you have done for me and our great Soldiers." Mixon continued, "Gen. Caslen is a proven combat leader. He and I have served together in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) several times; including during the first Gulf War. He is the absolute best choice for this critical combat command."
Caslen, who is no stranger to Schofield Barracks, has served in such positions as Commander, 1-14th Infantry Battalion, 25th ID; Executive Officer to the Commander of Multi-National Forces, Joint Task Force Bravo, Honduras; Assistant Deputy Director for Strategy and Policy, J-5 on the Joint Staff; Chief of Staff of the Coalition Joint Task Force Mountain, 10th Mountain Division in Baghram Afghanistan; and most recently he was at the United States Military Academy where he assumed command of the United States Corps of Cadets as the 70th Commandant of Cadets.
Caslen is proud to return to the Tropic Lighting family and will be leading the 25th as it prepares to deploy later this year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"To stand here in front of the men and women of this division is probably one of the most humbling honors of unmasked proportions. What an incredible honor it is to assume command of this great division," said Caslen.
Although Bednarek leaves Schofield Barracks, both Generals are and will be a part of Tropic Lighting's past, present and future history.
A portion of the ceremony also recognized the Division's achievements with the addition of two new streamers to the Division's colors.
The Tropic Lightning Division was awarded the Campaign Participation Credit Streamer and Meritorious Unit Commendation for its service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. The Meritorious Unit Commendation is presented to any military command which displays outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions.
At the close of the event guests and Soldiers stood in long lines sharing handshakes and Aloha spirit with both leaders and their families.