25th Infantry Division

The 25th Infantry Division was activated at Schofield Barracks, Territory of Hawaii, October 1, 1941. After its return to Hawaii from Korea in 1954, the Division established and conducted intensive training programs in jungle warfare techniques and the study of Asian languages, thus becoming the only trained counter-guerrilla unit in the U.S. Army. In response to a request from the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam (MACV), the Division sent 100 helicopter door-gunners to the Republic of South Vietnam in early 1963.

By the time this first phase was completed in the latter part of 1965, 2,200 men of the 25th Infantry Tropic Lightning Division were involved. By August 1965, further Division involvement in the coming war in Vietnam came when Company C, 65th Engineer Battalion, was deployed to South Vietnam to assist in the construction of port facilities at Cam Ranh Bay. Again the Division was asked to contribute soldiers in December of that year, so in response to a MACV request for additional combat support, the Division sent 4,000 3rd Brigade infantrymen to the jungles of Vietnam. Operation Blue Light was the largest and longest airlift of personnel and cargo into a combat zone in military history until recently.

The Brigade deployed its first soldiers from Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, to the central highlands at Pleiku. These men arrived in Vietnam December 24, 1965. By mid-January, the deployment operation was complete, giving combat planners in Vietnam a favorable balance of power. An important unit to these combat planners, the Division was heavily engaged from April 1966 until 1969 throughout the area of operations in Southeast Asia. This would lead Tropic Lightning soldiers into battles against a seemingly insurmountable opposition in jungles seemingly impossible to penetrate.

TET OFFENSIVE/Vietnamization - During the Tet offensives of 1968 and 1969, Tropic Lightning personnel were instrumental in defending the besieged city of Saigon. Due to its success in fending off that attack, from May 1969 through April 1970, the 25th Infantry Division was mostly involved in the Vietnamization Program, helping the people of Vietnam rebuild their war-torn country, rather than in actual combat. The Division continued to see limited fighting, clearing the Ho Bo and Bo Loi Woods of remaining Viet Cong and assisting in other surrounding areas.

CAMBODIA - During the three-month period, April through June 1970, Tropic Lightning soldiers participated in Allied thrusts deep into enemy sanctuaries located in Cambodia. In these operations, the men confiscated thousands of tons of supplies and hundreds of weapons. This operation nearly crippled the Cambodian efforts against American units. Following its return from Cambodia to South Vietnam, the Division resumed its place in the Vietnamization Program. The war was winding down.

By late December 1970, elements of the 25th Infantry Division were able to begin redeployment operations to Schofield Barracks. Second Brigade was the last element of the Tropic Lightning Division to depart Vietnam and arrived at Schofield Barracks in the early days of May 1971. During the war in Vietnam, 22 Medals of Honor were awarded to Tropic Lightning soldiers; the most number of Medals of Honor received by any other single unit in the war.

25th Infantry Division

tel: +420 723 116 101