By LT. JANELLE KURODA, JAG Corps, U.S. Navy
The Armed Forces offers many dynamic leadership opportunities for those who want to make a positive impact in our country and abroad.
Capt. William Koyama, born in St. Cloud, Minn., and raised in Oregon, was a NASA spacecraft engineer who wanted to be a naval officer. Koyama said he changed careers to “push the envelope, even if failure was possible, rather than remain in a safe zone.” A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he commissioned in the Navy through the Aviation Officers’ Candidate School. Koyama flew the FA-18 C and E variant jet aircrafts in combat in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, commanded two squadrons, and volunteered to serve in Iraq. Koyama currently serves as the Deputy Air Wing Commander for Carrier Air Wing Five in Atsugi, Japan.
Capt. Dora Lockwood, born in Corydon, Ind., was inspired to join the Navy by her father, a Navy veteran and merchant mariner. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, she served as the public affairs officer for Navy Region Southwest, U.S. Third Fleet, and Fleet Forces Command. Her most rewarding assignment was when she served as the public affairs officer for the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. She currently serves as the director for public affairs at the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Falls Church, Va.
“Serving along with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career,” said Lockwood.
Her greatest inspiration comes from her daughter. Through her daughter’s eyes, Macri realized that a parent’s legacy is to be someone your child can be proud of.
“If it were not for the Navy, I would never have been able to go to medical school,” said Macri. “I owe everything to the Navy and I can never repay the opportunities I was afforded and the success I’ve achieved.”
“As a lawyer in the Navy, I have served as defense counsel, instructor, detailer, and as staff judge advocate to commands both ashore and at sea. These opportunities were filled with life adventures I never would have imagined would be part of an already exciting naval career,” said Minami.
His most memorable experience was when he commanded USS San Juan (SSN 751) as his crew launched Tomahawk missiles from his submarine while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Throughout my 30 years in the Navy, it has truly been a privilege and honor to stand alongside the many patriot Americans who have chosen to dedicate their lives to the service of our country”, said Takesuye.
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the first Asian American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, remarked, “As the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and home to over 30,000 Navy Department personnel, Hawaii understands the importance of a strong Navy. We also know that the power of our forces is not based solely on the superiority of our ships and weapons, but the competence and bravery of the men and women serving our country.
“I commend the Navy for its efforts to attract, recruit and retain personnel who bring diverse backgrounds and experiences to the table. I am confident leaders like Captains Koyama, Lockwood, Macri, Minami and Takesuye will strengthen our national security and make the Japanese American community and our broader nation proud.”
These Japanese American naval officers and hundreds of others have had an enormous impact on the Navy. Following World War II, the ban on Japanese American enlistments in the U.S. Navy was lifted. Today, Japanese Americans serve in all ranks in the U.S. Navy and include an assistant secretary of the Navy and three admirals.
Kuroda is a board member of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) in Washington, D.C.