Nestled in the backdrop of the Waianae mountain range and Kolekole pass is the home of the United States Army’s 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks.
In 1974, Major General Harry Brooks Jr., Commander of the 25th Infantry Division, would lead his soldiers chanting cadence through the quiet Wahiawa town as part of their physical training (PT). In response to the community when concerns from this peaceful little town stirred, and as a means to inspire its residents, Major General Harry Brooks, Jr. coined the phrase the “Sounds of Freedom.”
“When you hear the chanting of our soldiers, they are in training. When you do not hear them, it means they are off to defend and protect our great country. They are the ‘Sounds of Freedom’”, said Major General Brooks.
Fast forward to 1986. Lieutenant General William Schneider, who was the Colonel under Major General Brooks at that time, contacted Carole Kai and asked her to allow the soldiers in Hawaii to participate in the Great Aloha Run as a special division called the Sounds of Freedom (SOF). Great Aloha Run was its second year. Carole enthusiastically welcomed the SOF, and the legacy of SOF was born.*
*This was not the first time members of Hawaii’s military ohana joined the Great Aloha Run. In 1985, the its inaugural year, a contingent of 600 Marines from 2nd Brigade out of Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, led by Colonel Antonio Betta, entered as a show of Goodwill before the Sounds of Freedom was born.
Since its beginning, the SOF has become the most exciting and inspirational division in the Great Aloha Run. Although dominated by the US Army’s 25th ID and 8th TSC, the Sounds of Freedom is also represented by the Marines, the Air Force, the Navy, and the Coast Guard, including unit entries from the Hawaii National Guard and local JROTC programs. To date, the Great Aloha Run has given more than $900,000 to all the branches of the military in Hawaii!
In appreciation and gratitude, in May, 2010, the Great Aloha Run assembled a contingent for a Mahalo Luau Tour in Iraq for the brave men and women of the 25th Infantry Division and the Hawaii National Guard.
Learn more about this year’s Sounds of Freedom.