SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (April, 14, 2022) – The 25th Infantry Division welcomed home Soldiers from the Philippines with ceremonies throughout the week at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.
Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Division Sustainment Brigade and 25th Division Artillery Brigade spent two months in the Philippines training side-by-side with their Filipino partners as part of Pacific Pathways exercises Salaknib and Balikatan.
“These positive interactions with our partners help to set the theater and generate readiness, which is at the heart of what the Theater Army does, with the 25th as the Pacific’s Division being the tip of the spear,” said Col. Michael Van Welie, Deputy Commander-Interoperability of 25th Infantry Division, during his remarks as the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
A welcome home ceremony is a way for the unit to show its gratitude to the Soldiers for their dedication and mission support, while providing Family members a place to receive their loved ones.
“We are super excited for his (Sgt. Jenwhel Mongalo) return home,” said Soul Chheuy. “It was rough at times especially just having a baby but we took it day by day and he is ready to see his dad.”
In the Indo-Pacific region, bilateral and joint training exercises are crucial to fostering relationships, building partner capacities and improving readiness. Through realistic training all participants benefit from the collective knowledge, tactics and techniques, which helps increase interoperability amongst the forces and enhances security through cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Operation Pathways is one of the very tangible ways we support our friends and allies, with the Philippines being one of our oldest partners in a complex region,” said Van Welie. “As we work together towards our shared interests these Pathways exercises will become even more important.”