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Finding the passion of service

Col. David Kumashiro found his reasons to serve

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin

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When I was a captain, I received some unexpected news that I had been selected to fly the MQ-1 Predator," said Col. David Kumashiro, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "I was at a point in my career where I was uncertain whether I was going to make the Air Force a career. I had been flying the line for several years and was in all honesty a little burned out."

"That assignment probably ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. I was thrust into a world I knew nothing about - a new technology, a new combat mission, and a new Air Force ‘clan.' In fact, the Predator was so new that few senior leaders had experience in how we employed the platform and, as a result, had no choice but to trust the expertise and leadership of our young crew force."

"It rekindled the fire and the passion I had to try and make things better, to make the Air Force better and to make the lives of the Air Force men and women better. As I look back at my experiences in the Predator, my hope is that all airmen have an opportunity to experience the unexpected passion of Service."

Kumashiro took over command of 62nd Airlift Wing during a change of command ceremony, July 17. Since his arrival he has made his way around the wing in the hopes of getting to know his new airmen and their families, as family ties are extremely important to him.

"I've been extremely blessed to come from a very supportive and loving family that has been privileged to have had the opportunity to serve in our USAF," said Kumashiro. "My father received his Air Force commission through ROTC in 1965, my oldest brother received his Air Force commission through Officer Training School, and his wife through ROTC at Bowling Green. I was fortunate enough to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy where I received my commission."

"One of the most memorable moments in my life was when my father commissioned me at the Academy. A couple of days later, we drove down to Kirtland Air Force Base where he was assigned and participated in his retirement from the Air Force after 26 years of service."

This is Kumashiro's first time stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and his first time stationed in the Pacific Northwest.

"This is an amazing area with so much going on - the natural beauty of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and the Olympic range. I'm looking very forward to venture out and see what the area has to offer," said Kumashiro. "I'm a big seafood fan, too, so I'll be out trying all the great food from our local restaurants. If you are ever bored, let me know and we will find something to do."

Along with looking forward to hiking in the Pacific Northwest, the commander said his hobbies include running, golfing, swimming, cycling, working out, and skiing. His favorite sports are soccer, golf and tennis.

"The Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Seahawks are my teams now," said Kumashiro when asked about his favorite sports teams. "Since I moved around a lot, I never gained an allegiance to any single team - with the exception, of course, of the mighty Air Force Academy Falcons."

As an Air Force dependent and in his current AF career, the colonel has moved around quite a lot in his life and with those moves he has developed a strong respect for the local community ties.

"At its core, our community partnership is important because all of us benefit from being good neighbors," said Kumashiro. "At JBLM, we are so incredibly fortunate to have a long tradition of strong community partner relations that is based on mutual respect and transparency.

"I've already met many of our local leaders and community members and can attest to their commitment to ensuring this partnership continues.

"I do want to take a moment and thank all our community partners and civic leaders across the Puget Sound area for the tremendous support they have given to our military members.

"Life in the military can be stressful, and the selfless support we receive from our community partners goes a long way to improving the resiliency of our Air Force. We could not do it without them."

For the colonel, this is his first time at a joint base and only his second time in a joint billet; however he understands how important joint basing is.

"In today's dynamic and complex battle space, we must be integrated and seamless in how we conduct joint operations regardless of our respective mission sets and service cultures," said Kumashiro. "Joint basing is a foundational step to achieving this objective. Moreover, in this challenging fiscal environment, we must take advantage of every efficiency we possibly can to ensure we are good stewards of U.S. taxpayer dollars. "Great organizations don't shy away from different ideas and perspectives rather they embrace the opportunity to share unique and diverse experiences. It's what a learning organization is all about and bottom line, it can only make us better."

As a young captain, Col. David Kumashiro took on the challenge of being assigned to fly the Predator and it was at a time in his career when he was unsure of what the future held for him. He embraced that challenge and has benefited ever since. "I challenge all of us to ‘find the unexpected passion of Service,'" said Kumashiro. "Mine was the MQ-1 Predator. What's yours?"

Master Sgt. Todd Wivell is a journalist with the 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Photo: Col. David Kumashiro, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, pauses for a social media photo after his change of command ceremony, July 17, 2013 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Kumashiro has created his own 62nd AW commander Facebook page in order to highlight airmen from JBLM. HIs page can be found at

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