SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Families, friends, colleagues and guests gathered at Sills Field to express their appreciation for a senior leader of Tropic Lightning.

The Aca,!A"Flying VAca,!A? ceremony, held to display respect and gratitude for departing key military officers, was an opportunity to bid farewell to Col. Thomas P. Guthrie, the outgoing chief of staff, 25th Infantry Division, and his family as they depart for a new assignment.

Aca,!A"I think these Flying VAca,!a,,cs should be reserved for just general officers, but I am honored, if not at the same time, embarrassed to be standing up her right now,Aca,!A? said Guthrie.

Maj. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, commanding general, 25th Inf. Div., praised Guthrie for his unchanged quality of service and character throughout his military career and selfless service to the division during his remarks.

According to Champoux, Guthrie expertly executed three division level staff exercises as well as the divisionAca,!a,,cs final mission readiness exercise that prepared the division for combat. His guidance and reliable leadership during the deployment paid incredible dividends in Northern Iraq.

Aca,!A"When I talk about leadership by example, I think of Tom Guthrie. He has high standards, expects a lot of himself, expects a lot from the division staff and cares deeply about Soldiers and about building mutual trust and respect,Aca,!A? said Champoux.

Guthrie implemented several changes and systems throughout the division, including the rapid adaptation initiative and the realignment of division staff into boards, working groups and a new fusion cell. Champoux said these innovative ideas clearly made a difference in the division.

Faced with the ever constant demands of equipment, including from weapons to clothing, from modern fighting vehicles to improved motor pools and new barracks, Guthrie was able to call upon strong ties and established partnerships with the local and military community to ensure that Soldiers of 25th Inf. Div. had exactly what they needed to prepare for war.

Aca,!A"To all I simply say, thank you. You all inspire me and I hope that I was more encouraging than suppressing to the staff and the Brigade Combat Teams. All of you earned and deserved great latitude and the freedom to help this command succeed and you never disappoint,Aca,!A? said Guthrie in his remarks.

Guthrie thanked and recognized people he worked with who had a big impact on his career and personal life during his time with the Tropic Lightning Division.

Aca,!A"I do love this division and it has some of the finest leaders in it that I have ever known,Aca,!A? said Guthrie. Aca,!A"People run the Army and I am a people person. And I had some great ones on the staff during my tenure as Chief that made me look better than I am,Aca,!A? he continued.

Guthrie and his family will move on to Fort Leavenworth, Kan for his next assignment.