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NEWS | April 23, 2015

Secretary Identifies Linchpin in Army's Pacific Plans

By Staff Sgt. Sean Everette (25th ID)

Describing the U.S. Army Pacific and the 25th Infantry Division as a "linchpin" in America's strategic rebalances to the Pacific, Army Secretary John M. McHugh said ground forces are key to any success.

"I don't want people to think that this part of the world is just a sea and air domain," said McHugh, during a visit to Oahu and the 25th Infantry Division, April 21. "The United States Army has had a very long and successful presence here, and we're convinced you have a lot more important work still to do."

The 25th Infantry Division and its subordinate units play a large role in the Pacific as the Army's only forward deployed infantry division. Throughout the Pacific, thousands of Army forces are supporting operations to strengthen U.S. partnerships and alliances as part of the Pacific Pathways initiative in places including Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia and South Korea.

Pacific Pathways is an innovative approach to exercise deployment that links a series of training exercises to create multinational training opportunities with regional partners across a range of missions from security to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Soldiers, from the 25th Infantry Division, often guide and execute Pacific Pathways missions as well as operate unique Army training at the Lightning Academy's Jungle Operations Training Course. During his visit, McHugh saw and heard about the division's capabilities from Soldiers of nearly every rank and position.

"This division is a linchpin in our Pacific plans," McHugh told the Soldiers. "I've been seeing and hearing quite a bit about the important roles you play here, and some of them are very unique. In this part of the world, the things the 25th Infantry Division encounters aren't necessarily seen elsewhere, and the opportunities for training and partnership are one-of-a-kind."

The division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team is in the Philippines on the final leg of a Pacific Pathways deployment, having recently completed exercises in Thailand and South Korea.

"As we come back to the Pacific, rebalancing as it's being called, the mission here is going to be an increasingly

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