SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – Partnership is the principal tenet of the United States Army Pacific’s (USARPAC) mission, as evidenced by Operation Pathways, which spans the largest geographic area of responsibility. This conglomeration of joint combined exercises, occurring annually since 2014, has dramatically increased multilateral engagements for the Department of Defense (DoD) in the Pacific and continues to make a strategic impact in deterrence against regional threats.
Though firmly established as a core participant of Operation Pathways, the 25th Infantry Division, based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, only sometimes looks beyond the international dateline to practice partnership. Various subordinate commands of the Division partner with communities throughout the island of Oahu to build lasting relationships and enhance trust between Service Members in uniform and our Hawaiian neighbors, promoting the concept of “living with aloha”—a mantra encouraging kindness and stewardship of the island.
These partnerships generally include board meetings, community outreach events, and volunteer services, with routine touchpoints that build familiarity across civil-military lines.
In addition to these regular engagements, on Oct. 10, 2023, the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Combat Team invited the Vice Chair of the Waianae Neighborhood Board, Ms. Tiana Wilbur, to tour Schofield Barracks.
Hosted by Lt. Col. Patrick H. Yun, Commander of 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, the visit highlighted the Army’s mission in the Pacific and Hawaii, emphasizing Operation Pathways, Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center rotations, and Rapid Response Force responsibilities. The dialogue served to inform Ms. Wilbur of the strategic importance of Hawaii and the rising challenges unique to the region faced by the Army and military as a whole.
As military land use is a passionate topic for local communities, Yun also provided an overview of the various training areas on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii. Of the lands leased by the military, the Makua Military Reservation on the northwest coast of Oahu remains especially relevant to the community of Waianae due to its deep cultural heritage and significance.
“Hawaii is home to over 100,000 soldiers, civilians, and their families within U.S. Army Hawaii—and that is not including the other sister services of the Department of Defense,” said Yun. “As the Army trains and prepares for contingencies in the region, we strive to be good neighbors [in Hawaii].”
To that end, Yun aims to conduct more engagements with community leaders to inform them of the Army’s strategic problem set and mission, increase exposure between service members and their local community, bring key stakeholders together to promote continued dialogue, and ultimately build a lasting civilian-military relationship.