By Staff Sgt. Ricardo BranchSeptember 30, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers, Veterans, Family members and civilians celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Tropic Lightning Division during a rededication ceremony of Weyand Field, Sept. 30 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The ceremony brought past and present members of the 25th Infantry Division together to pay tribute to one of its former senior leaders -- General Fredrick C. Weyand.
"We honor our history today by memorializing this storied parade field and naming it after one of our greatest leaders, Gen. Weyand," said Col. Matthew S. Kelly, deputy commander, 25th Infantry Division (Rear). "
The field, formerly known as Sills Field, was rededicated to Gen. Weyand, the last commander in charge of military operations in Vietnam, and a former division commander for the Tropic Lightning Division, marking the continued legacy of honoring past Soldiers of the division.
Reviewing officer for the ceremony, Gen. (Ret.) David A. Bramlett spoke about the admiration Weyand had to all Soldiers past and present.
"General Weyand was first among your admirers," said Bramlett, speaking to the Soldiers gathered on the field. "Rarely did he ever give a speech without thanking Soldiers for what they did, what they have done, and what they represent."
When he served on active duty, Weyand devoted much of his time to what mattered to him, Soldiers and Families.
"He understood the stresses and strains placed on our Army Families," Bramlett said. "Even when he took us to Vietnam in 1965, he left behind one of our most able senior officers with one command, "take care of the Families while we go. Even then, Weyand understood the importance of Families and rarely gave a speech that didn't give credit to the Army Family."
During his military career, Weyand served as the 25th Infantry Division commander from August 1964 to August 1968, where he commanded II Field Force in Vietnam. After serving in a number of stateside and foreign assignments, to include participation in the peace talks between the United States and Vietnam, he returned to Vietnam in September 1970. In November of 1970, he was promoted to General, and became commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam from June 1972 to March 1973. Upon redeployment from Vietnam, Weyand assumed command of U.S. Army Pacific Command, Hawaii.
In August 1973, Weyand became the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and on Oct. 3, 1974 he became the twenty-eighth Chief of the Army. During his tenure, he was instrumental in reshaping the Army following the end of the Vietnam War. Weyand retired from active duty on Sept. 30, 1976, returning to Honolulu, Hawaii where he remained active in the business, military and philanthropic communities.
Toward the end of the ceremony, Bramlett imparted a message to the Soldiers standing in formation.
"Whenever you pass, march or conduct physical training on this field remember the name Weyand," he said. "Remember what he stood for, what he has done for our Nation, Army and division and also for each of us, we will be better for it."
Following the ceremony, former veterans from the division walked on the field to meet the current generation of Soldiers, and share stories, experiences and fond memories of the 25th Infantry Division and Gen. Weyand.