by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
8/3/2013 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- "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
"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 JBLM 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
"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?"