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NVC Commander's Column

by Mike Yaguchi
October 2021, Volume 71, Issue 9

Earlier this month, I noticed a sizeable group making their way to the Memorial Wall.  I walked over to them and asked if they would like to take a closer look.  One came over and started to ask questions, "What's this all about?"  The next thing I know, there's a small crowd around me!  It was fun to share this slice of American history with them about the legacy of the Nisei soldier and generation and why it matters today.

On a personal note, we lost another giant of a man.  Mr. Frank Nishimura, or "Mr. Nish," was my scoutmaster at Troop 53, Japanese Baptist Church, and he passed away earlier this month.  Mr. Nish pretty much ran a 'leadership lab' at Troop 53, and he created so many opportunities for us to learn how to lead and guide the efforts of others.  His approach greatly influenced how I taught and managed my peers and subordinates during my US Air Force career and as a director at OSD Policy and Veterans Affairs. 

I've tried all these years to live up to his leadership development approach.  I'm credited with producing officers recognized with Air Force-level leadership awards and hard-earned command positions. Several of my junior Policy staffers are now in supervisory positions; several are ahead of their peers.  I believe this reflects more on Mr. Nish than on me because he gave us an excellent foundation to build our leadership style.  I didn't know how important that was back then, but it became clear once I started my military career. 

It has been a privilege to have been one of Mr. Nish's Scouts. Any success I've had in my Air Force and post-military profession started by being exposed to his passion for molding the character and leadership skills of the next generation.  I hope I did not disappoint you.  Thank you, Mr. Nish.  Thank you for everything and goodbye.

Very respectfully,

Mike Yaguchi
Raven Patrol, Tr 53