SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- A dozen exemplary volunteers were awarded the inaugural U.S. Army-Hawaii Na Koa Award at the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, April 14, at the Nehelani.
"Na Koa" is the Hawaiian phrase for "the Warriors," and it was chosen because of its significance to the heritage and history of the Army in Hawaii.
Branded on the award was the "Lazy H" insignia, which also carries historical significance for the Army in Hawaii.
Maj. Gen. Charles Flynn, senior commander of USARHAW, alluded to this history at the awards ceremony.
"The people who have the longest and deepest ties to the Army in Hawaii, they recognize the Lazy H, they recognize the patch and they recognize the Army in Hawaii," Flynn said.
For this reason, he added, he was glad to see the insignia on the Na Koa Awards.
-- "Lazy H" roots
U.S. Army Hawaii's roots stretch back to the early 20th century, when the District of Hawaii was originally formed in 1910 as a sub-element of the Department of California.
Following World War I, an independent Hawaii Department was authorized a distinctive insignia, described as "an octagon of scarlet, the sides tangent to a circle. … The eight sides refer to the eight islands of the Hawaiian group. Scarlet and yellow are the old Royal Hawaiian colors."
The 25th Infantry Division assumed command responsibilities for USARHAW originally in 1957. From 1992 into the dawn of the 21st century, the 25th ID supervised both Tropic Lightning and USARHAW. In 2011, when the 25th ID returned from Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn, a decision was made for Tropic Lightning to assume a leadership role, once again, in installation operation.
Army leaders adopted the USARHAW name and the Lazy H insignia to promote and honor the heritage both symbols represent -- a history that goes back over a century