USO honors year’s top volunteers

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USO honors year’s top volunteers

by: . | .
Stripes Japan | .
published: September 15, 2016
USO Japan recently honored 18 servicemen and women of the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Forces for their personal achievements, volunteerism, leadership and service to country.
 
For nearly 75 years, the USO has been the nation’s leading organization to serve the men and women in the U.S. military, and their families, throughout their time in uniform. From the moment they join, through their assignments and deployments, and as they transition back to their communities, the USO is always by their side.
 
Based on personal awards and achievements, giving back to the community and their ability to inspire and mentor others, here are this year’s honorees:
 
 
2016 USO Volunteer of the Year
 
Kan Mizushima
 
Hometown: Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
 
Kan’s drive to learn brought him to USO Yokosuka where he volunteered within the center to improve his conversational skills. Wherever he saw a need for his time, culinary skills or translating, Kan filled it. Kan saw the work that the USO does firsthand and developed a strong passion for strengthening America’s service members through connection to family, home and country. He volunteers with both USO Yokosuka and USO Japan. Kan has escorted several celebrities around Japan, translated on numerous occasions, and coordinated and sorted a large donation of toys just in time for Christmas. Despite a busy work schedule and commute from Tokyo, he continues to make time to give back to our military and community. Kan would be the first person to tell you that he loves the USO. Learning English and American culture through volunteering with the USO has inspired Kan’s next mission. Kan dreams of a place where others can learn through conversation and immersion into different cultures and languages, like he did. He plans to open a restaurant in Tokyo where anyone can come to speak a variety of languages, create connections and network, share their own language and culture, and enjoy his wonderful cooking.
 
2016 USO Gala honorees
 
Representing Naval Air Station Atsugi
 
MA1 Robert C. Campbell
Hometown: Detroit, MI
MA1 Campbell transferred to Security Department, Naval Air Facility Atsugi Japan.  He has served as Watch Commander, Deputy Antiterrorism Officer, Department Leading Petty Officer and the Small Arms Training Center Manager. His personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (10 awards), the Navy Good Conduct Medal (six awards), the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and various unit awards.
 
Representing Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji
 
Lance Cpl. Katherine Acosta
Hometown: Havana, Cuba
Lance Cpl. Acosta was selected to take part in the Marine of the Quarter Board. She then took initiative to advance in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, ultimately advancing from Tan to Green on May 6, 2016. Acosta completed Lance Corporal Leadership Ethics Seminar on June 10, 2016, making her Professional Military Education complete for the Advancement of her next rank.
 
Representing Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
 
Sgt. Johnathan M. Cobb
Hometown: Burlington, NC
Sgt. Cobb attended the U. S. Army Conventional Physical Security and Crime Prevention School where he attained the secondary MOS of 5814.  Upon completion of the school, he served the Provost Marshal’s Office as the Assistant Physical Security Chief.  In April 2016, he received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his efforts during the Mission Assurance Anti-Terrorism assessment as well as the Law Enforcement Accreditation for the Provost Marshal’s Office, as his section was identified as maintaining the best crime prevention and incident response programs in the entire Marine Corps.  Cobb’s personal decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and he is married to the former Meredith Denny of Burlington, N.C. 
 
Representing Misawa Air Base-Air Force
 
Tech Sgt. Cedrickus D. Moody
Hometown: Anderson, NC
Tech Sgt. Moody has served in various positions in the Airfield Systems career field, including Meteorological and Navigational Systems Apprentice, Airfield Systems Technician, Airfield Systems Supervisor and NCOIC of Airfield Systems.  His military awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and he was recognized as the 2015 Pacific Air Forces Airfield Systems Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
 
Representing Misawa Air Base-Navy
 
AD1 (AW/SW) Melvir Gutierrez
Hometown: Philippines
AD1 Gutierrez received orders to Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment (AIMD) Misawa, where he currently is serving as the Production Control Leading Petty Officer.  AD1 Gutierrez’s personal awards are the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal (7 awards), 
The Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM) and various other service, unit and campaign awards.
 
Representing Command Fleet Activities Sasebo-Sea
 
YN1 (SW) Lawrence C. Pittman Jr. 
Hometown: Fresno, CA
In October 2014, YN1 Pittman Jr. reported to his current assignment onboard the USS CHIEF (MCM 14) in Sasebo.  Pittman is a proven leader onboard USS CHIEF; selected by his peers as First Class Petty Officer Association President, Command Mentorship Coordinator. Pittman’s decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medal and the Good Conduct Medal (three), as well as various unit awards, campaign and service decorations.  He is qualified to wear the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pin.
 
Representing Command Fleet Activities Sasebo-Shore
 
NC1 (SW/AW) Bethany A. Hale
Hometown: Bryant Pond, ME
NC1 Hale became Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo Sailor of the Quarter for 4th Quarter FY-15 and the first female Sailor of the Year in 2015. Hale’s personal awards include the Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Insignia, and Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Insignia. 
 
Representing Command Fleet Activities Yokosuka-Sea
 
CS2 (SW) Juan G. Hall
Hometown: Houma, LA
CS2 Hall was at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla., and working in the general mess as the Speed Line Supervisor where he earned nutrition department Junior Sailor of the Month.  From Speed Line Supervisor to Dietary Watch Captain.  
He became Watch Commander of Naval Hospital Jacksonville security force where he was promoted to Petty Officer Second Class. In June 2015 he reported onboard USS JOHN S. McCAIN and was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal for his outstanding performance as Watch Captain.  Petty Officer Hall completed two in-rate “C” Schools, Records Keeper and Galley Watch Captain where he received his first Navy Enlisted Certification.  He was also nominated for Sailor of the Year for his outstanding performance.
 
Representing Command Fleet Activities Yokosuka-Shore
 
CS1 (SW/AW) Eduardo J. Rolle
Hometown: Nassau, Bahamas
Presently, CS1 Rolle is stationed at COMFLEACT Yokosuka Unaccompanied Housing Department. His personal awards includes 6 Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Battle E, 4  Good Conduct Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Medal, Sea service deployment Ribbon, 2 Overseas Deployment Medals, Expert Rifle, Expert Pistol.
 
Representing Yokota Air Base
 
Senior Airman Jacob R. Gillespie
Hometown: SrA Gillespie enlisted in the Air Force in February of 2012 and went to technical training at USAFSAM, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH. Prior to assuming his present position, he worked as the Occupational Health Program manager for the 42nd Medical Group where he managed 2,000 flyers and conducted audiograms for hazardous noise-exposed personnel at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. His achievements include 2013 AETC Public Health Airman of the Year, 2014 Senior Airman Below-the-Zone, 2014 PACAF Team Aerospace of the Year, 2014 374 AMDS Airman of the Year, 2015 374 AW Airman of the Year.
 
Representing Camp Zama
 
Sgt. Manuel Western
Hometown: Wurzburg, Germany
Sergeant Western has volunteered over 200 hours with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9612, Camp Zama, Japan.
 He has volunteered at such functions as the Cherry Blossom Festival, Bon Odori Festival, Buddy-Poppy Drives, Thanksgiving Dinner for Retired Veterans, and Memorial Services and family aid for 2 local retirees that passed. 
He continues to serve the VFW by attending meetings and providing valuable feedback for the good of the organization and community. 
Western is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 
His awards and decorations include the Aviation Crewmember Badge, Air Assault Badge, Air Medal, ARCOM, AGCM, ACM-CS, GWTSM, NATO MDL, NCODP and OSR. 
Western’s short term goal is to be inducted into the USARJ SGT Audie Murphy Club, marry his Fiancé Hannah and to complete his BS in Radiology.
 
Representing Japan Air Self-Defense Force
 
Chief Master Sgt. Yuko Tanaka
Hometown: Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture
CMSgt. Tanaka was assigned to Chitose ATC squadron in Chitose AB and obtained an Approach and Terminal Radar Control license in 2002.  After obtaining a Watch Superviser’s license of  Control Tower and Rapcon (Radar Approach Control), she has been in charge of the section. Tanaka will continue to join volleyball activities and she would like to contribute her efforts to help the volleyball teams grow in Hokkaido.  Also, she will teach the young service members about the importance of teamwork and organizational power and educate them to be able to take leadership.  
Representing Japan Air Self-Defense Force
 
Master Sgt. Takechika Takatori
Hometown: Hekinan City, Aichi Prefecture
In 2013, Master Sgt. Takatori was assigned to the flight development experiment group of Gifu AB, Gifu Prefecture, he is now working as a flight engineer of the C-1 and is conducting various duties as a generalization member. Takatori’s goal is to let the younger generation realize the importance of having a passion for their lives through sports and help them become a better person. He continues to utilize his experience and expertise in JASDF to train and help the young men and women grow and become the core and leaders of the next generation.
 
Representing Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 
 
Warrant Officer Ikuo Namura
Hometown: Hokkaido, Hokkaido Prefecture
Warrant Officer NOMURA dedicated himself to a good relationship between Japan and the United States.  Especially, when he worked for the joint exchange programs between the Ground Self-Defense Force NCO Association, So You and the NCO Association of United States Army Japan. His awards include two ribbons of grade 5 for his achievement at the 1st Antiaircraft Artillery Group, a ribbon of grade 5 for safe driving in 1998, a ribbon of grade 4 for his achievement in 2001, a ribbon of grade 4 and two ribbons of grade 5 from 2003 to 2013.  Finally, he received a ribbon of grade 4 from the Chief of Staff, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in 2016. 
 
Representing Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
 
Sgt. Maj. Yasuhiro Gojo
Hometown: Kawauchi, Hiroshima Prefecture
Sgt. Maj. Gojo contributed five times to the local community and the Hiroshima Red Cross to appeal for blood donations in Camp Kaitaichi.  Additionally, he created a friendly atmosphere with the local community through participation in the annual Basketball Championship and the 2015 Special Olympic Games in Hiroshima. 
 
Representing Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
 
Petty Officer 1st Class Etsuko Nakamura
Hometown: Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
In 2010, Nakamura joined the US Navy CPO Selectee Training as the first foreign national to join the training.  At the pinning ceremony, she received an honor CPO for the first Japanese. 
Because of her proficiency in English, she joined DAPE in 2012 and she went to the States for a C130 training in 2014.  PO 1 Nakamura currently work also as a liaison in Atsugi base area and she strives to deepen amicable relations between the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy.   
 
Representing Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
 
Petty Officer 3rd Class Hiroki Ikeuchi
Hometown: Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
PO3 Ikeuchi married in May 2013 and promoted to PO3 in July 2013.  After completion the Basic Petty Officer Training Course in September 2013 with excellent results, he worked for Atsugi Air Base.  He has been stationed at Anti-Submarine Warfare Center since 2015. Ikeuchi has a son who was born in January 2016.  He has the confidence of his supervisors and team members.   
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