By Eric Nishizawa, Esq., JAVA life member & Los Angeles Advisory Board Member
JAVA Advocate, Volume XVIIII—Issue 2
LOS ANGELES — On June 3 and 4, 2011, George T. Sakato, Medal of Honor, keynoted two important events in Los Angeles, including the inaugural Los Angeles Community Salute to Future Soldiers, which was hosted by the Los Angeles Army Community Advisory Board.
The inaugural June 4th Saluteto Future Soldiers honored over 529 of Los Angeles’s Future Soldiers. These young men and women, who will soon ship to Basic Training, hail from throughout the Los Angeles area and represent nearly all of Los Angeles’s communities. They truly are among the elites of their age group because nationally less than 30% of 17-24 year olds qualify for enlistment in the Army and 25% of those who enlist fail the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Board. Still more fail the physical and background examinations.
In all, approximately 1,000 people attended to hear Mr. Sakato deliver the keynote speech of the event. Among the attendees were local leaders and notables from government, business, community, and entertainment, including California State Senator Ted Lieu, Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis P. Zine, California Court of Appeal Justice Jeffrey Johnson, former Baywatch star Angelica Bridges, cast members from “Reno 911,” Dodgers great Al Downing, former Doors member Robby Krieger, country singer Amy Scruggs, actor Johnny Strong (who portrayed a future Medal of Honor recipient in Blackhawk Down), actor D.B. Sweeney, and comedian Thom Tran.
During his remarks, a bright and chipper Mr. Sakato recounted the engagement during the battle to rescue the Texas Lost Battalion for which he received his Medal, recounted some of his experiences in basic training, spoke of the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Mr. Sakato was a member of E Company), and advised the Future Soldiers to “listen to your drill sergeants.”
Later, Mr. Sakato assisted in the administering of the Future Soldiers’ oaths by reading the oath, after which, the Los Angeles Battalion’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blankenship, stated, “Sir, thank you for your inspiring words, today. You are truly Army strong, and we salute you.” Thereafter all of the Future Soldiers and Battalion members saluted Mr. Sakato.
Earlier in the trip, on June 3rd, Mr. Sakato addressed the entire Los Angeles Battalion. There, Mr. Sakato shared with the soldiers of the battalion his Army story from when he started as wanting to join the Air Corps to joining the 442 and his many experiences as a soldier in the 442.
Mr. Sakato will be long remembered by all who met him. Everyone who wanted to shake his hand, get an autograph, and take a picture with him were warmly received with a broad smile. His modest bearing inspires all who see in it that we are each capable of doing incredible and great things, if we will rise to meet our challenges. He will be remembered in Los Angeles history for his valor and as the first of what will be a long line of keynote speakers at Los Angeles Community Salutes to Future Soldiers.
If you would like to see an interview of Mr. Sakato by the Los Angeles NBC affiliate, KNBC, also on June 3, 2011, please go to http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/123760879.html.
October 25, 2010 – Patsy Rubio, Public Affairs Specialist
The Career Counseling in Challenging Times II workshop, co-sponsored by Mount San Antonio College Tech Prep and the California Counselor Leadership Network at Los Angeles County Office of Education, was held on October 21st, 2010 at Mt. SAC. The workshop focused on assisting educators by providing them with information on career and educational options and ways to reconsider strategies that will serve the students.
The U.S. Army Los Angeles Recruiting Battalion participated in a 1-hour panel discussion on “Military Recruitment and Ethical Practices.” The panel gave the Army an opportunity to answer questions on the military recruitment process. In addition, information on Army programs, like the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Army College Fund, Loan Repayment Program and Tuition Assistance, was provided to counselors and educators.
Other programs offered FREE by the Army are the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and March 2 Success, both of which benefit the student and counselors. The ASVAB helps counselors better understand their students career development, which in affect helps them align high school courses with career planning. The M2S program is a FREE Web-based program used to assist students on improving their performance on tests of Math, Science, English , ACT and SAT preparation and state standardized tests. Visit www.march2succes.com for more information and use of the program. At a time where jobs are tough to come by and state colleges are raising their fees, the importance of these benefits cannot be overstated.
The goal of the workshop is to open the door to what could be the first stage of a military education alliance. We want to inform and educate the public on what the U.S. Army can provide to help develop students professionally and in their academic endeavors.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Lance Izumi, J.D., member and immediate past president for Board of Governors California Community Colleges and member of the L.A. Community Advisory Board. The 6-member panel included Lt. Col Robert G. Blankenship, commander of the L.A. Recruiting Battalion, Steve Brown, Education Services Specialist of the U.S. Army 6th Recruiting Brigade, Janet Chin, board president of the Garvey Unified School District, Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Lopez, Command Sergeant Major of the L.A. RCTG BN, Matthew Macarah, founder and former principal of the Discovery Charter Preparatory School and Donna Schwan, Army Reserve Career Counselor and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services of La Puente Valley Regional Occupational Program.
Other participating agencies included the Americorps, California Conservation Corps, National Jobs Corps, Regional Occupational Program and Women at Work.
The trip, organized by LACOE’s California Counselor Leadership Network, was in support of the L.A. area Army Recruiting Command. The Command had requested the Network’s assistance in coordinating and evaluating a four-day educators’ orientation visit in March to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Nineteen educators from L.A. County made the trip, including 10 LACOE representatives from four divisions: Student Support Services, ROP, JCS and Special Ed. Teachers, counselors and administrators who work in health career academies or with students interested in health careers comprised the rest of the group.
The visit was a “homecoming” for one member of the group, Iown Fields, a JCS counselor, who completed combat medic training at the post when she was stationed there in her youth.
In their evaluations, several in the visiting group expressed a newfound appreciation for the Army’s professionalism and its emphasis on continuing education. “This visit took my knowledge and outlook on the benefits of military training to a new level,” said one educator.
Get more information about the trip.
Photo: L.A. County educators, including LACOE staff, visit the Alamo in San Antonio during a break from duties assisting the Army at Fort Sam Houston.
With more and more Army advisory boards being set up across the country, a new online resource has been developed in order to distribute information about the grassroots program nationally. The site is located at GoArmyCOI.com. I strongly urge all current COI members and those interested in possibly becoming new Grassroots COI members to check it out! Hooah!!!!!
By Teresa Watanabe
Los Angeles Times
December 16, 2009
On a chilly Saturday morning this month, the future soldiers of the U.S. Army huffed and puffed through push-ups, sit-ups and stretches in Whittier Narrows Regional Park in South El Monte.
There was the gangly white kid with the blond buzz cut and the buffed-out Latino dude, head draped in a black bandanna.
And then there was Jennifer Ren, small, slight and bespectacled, an immigrant from China who gamely kept up with the guys and sees the Army as a ticket to U.S. citizenship and a job in accounting and finance.
Down the training line was Christopher Ly, the son of Chinese immigrants from Vietnam who figures that the Army will help pay for a hoped-for Stanford University education and an eventual career as an Army lawyer.
Gery Denniswara, a Diamond Bar high school senior and Jakarta native, sees the Army as a way to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a doctor.
Ren, Ly and Denniswara helped drive the biggest Army recruitment boon for Los Angeles in two decades — led by an 80% increase in Asian enlistments in the last year. Asians have traditionally joined the military at the lowest rate among all races. Continue reading.
The story was also covered by KABC-TV:
BREA – Six U.S. Army recruits stood at attention, one with a skateboard propped against his leg, another wearing an unofficial dog tag stamped at a college career fair with his name.
Each appeared ready to undergo the rigors of basic training.
“You’ve got plenty of time to get in shape,” said Lt. Col. Miguel Howe, his eyes scrutinizing the lineup of 18- to 25-year-olds inside the Army’s Brea recruitment office. “Every American who walks into a recruiting station since 9/11 is a hero, and your lives will change in ways you can never imagine.”
“Yes, sir!” the six barked back.
These future defenders of the nation have helped the U.S. Army attain its largest annual recruitment jump in Orange County in 22 years – 36 percent more than last fiscal year. Continue reading.