By Sgt. 1st Class Crista Mary MackJune 17, 2014
HONOLULU -- The U.S. Army Pacific celebrated the Army's 239th birthday with Pacific Theater Army Week, a series of command and community events across the Pacific region culminating with a formal birthday commemoration June 9 through 13.
The official theme for the week was," America's Army: Our profession," and events focused on the past, present and future of USARPAC.
"On the occasion of the Army's 239th birthday and 116 years of the Army in the Pacific, we are proud to serve in a command with such professional men and women, Army and Civilian, and such dedicated families who are the U.S. Army Pacific," said Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, USARPAC commanding general.
The week kicked off June 9, with a family fun run at Fort Shafter's historic Palm Circle and a veterans outreach at the Veterans Affairs' Center for Aging.
The four day annual Best Warrior Competition, a competition designed to find the best noncommissioned officer and Soldier in the Pacific, also kicked off June 9. Soldiers from across the Pacific convened at Schofield Barracks where their Army knowledge and physical and mental stamina were tested.
USARPAC's NCO of the Year is Staff Sgt. Adam White, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-501 Infantry (Airborne), 4th Brigade 25th Inf. Div., Fort Richardson, Alaska. The Soldier of the Year is Spc. Thomas Boyd, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade. Both will represent USARPAC at the Department of the Army's Best Warrior Competition later this year.
A historical note was emphasized two nights in a row by Army music Hawaii, the 25th Inf. Div. 30-person band which performed two "Legacy of Honor" concerts at Fort DeRussy June 10 and 11. The concert featured band members and other volunteers in Army period costumes, a patriotic musical selection and dancers from the Ha'a Hui dance group
The week also featured a golf scramble, hosted by the 25th Infantry Division Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at Leilehua Golf Course June 10. The scramble was open to all Hawaii-based Soldiers.
Army leaders donned cleats and headed to Fort Shafter's Takata Field June 11 for the annual senior leaders softball game. Four teams competed against one another, each team made up individually of colonels, sergeants majors, senior field grade officers and a final team of master sergeants and 1st sergeants. The first sergeant/master sergeant team won.
Army history in the Pacific was again addressed June 12 when female veterans from multiple conflicts of the past were honored guests at the PTAW Sisters in Arms meeting. During the meeting, Eugenia Woodward, Christine Tucker and Teddy Harrison shared their individual stories and how they each contributed to the Armed Forces during different times and attitudes towards women in uniform. The veterans were thanked by Brooks, who spoke also during the meeting of his experiences with the first U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduating class that included women.
The week's events culminated at the Army Birthday Commemoration at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki. An official cake was cut by the youngest and oldest Soldiers attending, who were joined by Brooks and USARPAC Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Leota. The evening's entertainment included the official announcements of the USARPAC Soldier and NCO of the Year and 2014 recipient of the Mana O Ke Koa award.
The Mana O Ke Koa "Spirit of the Warrior" award honors individuals who have distinguished themselves by their steadfast support of Soldiers, their Families and the Army community. This year's winner is David P. Carey III, President and Chief Executive Officer, Outrigger Enterprises, Inc.
With all the events of the week, Brooks spoke about the magnanimous spirit that characterizes the USARPAC Soldier.
"We honor the history of the U.S. Army in the Pacific and look to continue the great legacy in our current operations," said Brooks. "Your commitment to your chosen profession allows us to continue to build upon the proud heritage the Army has in the region."