Robert Toworu "Bob" Azuma

Sexo Male
Birth date 1937-10-09
Local de nascimento Los Angeles CA, USA
Inducted 1954-10-28, Chicago IL
Tipo de alistamento Volunteer
Ramo das Forças Armadas Usaf
Tipo de serviço War,peacetime
Tipo de Unidade Combat
Unidades onde serviu Air Force Systems Command
Air Force Space Command
Air Training Command
Tactical Air Command
Pacific Air Forces
Military Airlift Command
Vietnam War veteran
Military specialty Navigator
Commander
Acquisition Project Director
Stationed USA, Philippines, Vietnam, temporary duty all over the world.
Separated Vandenberg AF Base CA
Unit responsibility Varied by assignment but primary mission in all assignments was to defend the country and maintain peace.
Personal responsibility To provide the leadership needed to accomplish each unit's assigned mission.
Major battles (if served in a war zone) 9 campaigns - Vietnam 1962 - 1969
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit) Legion of Merit - distinguished service
Distinguished Flying Cross - heroism in combat
Meritorious Service Medal (3) - meritorious service
Air Medals (4) - aerial achievement in combat
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (6) (combat V)
Air Force Achievement Medal
Good Conduct Medal (3)
Vietnam Campaign Medal (9 Battle Stars)
Other awards - 6.
Most vivid memory of military experience 1. My retirement from active duty with over 36 years of service.
2. Combat experiences in Vietnam.
3. Teaching others that Japanese Americans can also advance in the military based on merit.
Most important thing, personally, to come from military experience? That I was able to advance in the military. I started out as an enlisted man in 1954 and advanced to officer status in 1963 and became one of the highest ranking Asian officers in the military. Thanks to my family's support, I was able to accomplish the many duties and special tasks needed for recognition and advancement. As an Asian, I definitely stood out from others and had to make extra efforts to ensure we were always seen in the most positive light possible.
Additional information One of the very few Air Force Officers who started their career in the enlisted ranks and advanced to full Colonel, possibly the only Japanese American to do so. I received permission to reproduce and use photographs from Executive Order 9066 in (my) lectures in the Air Force as did my wife in schools in Ohio.

A biography of Colonel Robert T. Azuma follows:

Colonel Robert T. (Bob) Azuma was born in Los Angeles, CA, and raised in Colorado and Illinois. He enlisted in the Air Force on October 28, 1954, and served as an aircraft mechanic, flight mechanic, and flight engineer technician on a variety of aircraft.

Joining the California Air National Guard in 1962, he received a direct commission in November 1963 and completed Undergraduate Navigator Training at James Connelly AFB, TX in July 1965. He returned to college while serving as a weekend warrior flying C-97s with the ANG at Van Nuys, CA.

Reentering active duty in 1968, he was assigned to Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, as a C-130 navigator flying combat missions in Southeast Asia. One of the first to qualify for 'Commando Vault' missions, he was credited with dropping many 10,000 pound bombs on various targets and flew 695 combat sorties, accumulating 667 combat hours.

Col. Azuma was assigned to Mather AFB, CA as an Instructor Navigator in the Navigator Training Program in 1970. He was then selected to be the project manager for the advancement of navigator training into the Jet Age. Participating in T-43 aircraft testing and directing the T-45 simulator test program, he became the Air Force Systems Command representative at Mather and provided technical program office, contracting, and logistical support for these systems.

He was assigned to the Aeronautical Systems Division Simulator Program Office, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH in 1976 and was involved in all Air Force simulator procurement programs. He also participated in or led many management reviews on programs encountering difficulties. He was selected to be the Saudi F-5 Simulator Program Manager on a troubled and extremenly sensitive Foreign Military Sales Program, and his program team delivered a complex trainer in Saudi Arabia in record time with the fewest defects in Air Force Systems Command history.

Returning to Mather in 1979, Col. Azuma was again assigned to the Navigator Training Program as an Assistant Operations Officer. He was then appointed Chief, Public Affairs Division, and upgraded the division to the best in the command in 1981. He then organized and opened the Mather Family Service Center approximately one year early. He was appointed Chief, Services Division, and cited for improving its effectiveness in all areas. He became an Operations Officer managing graduate navigator training, and was appointed the Assistant Wing Inspector General. He assumed command of the 323rd Transportation Squadron upon its activation, and under his leadership the unit was selected as the Best Air Corce Motor Vehicle Management Unit for 1985 and the Best ATC Vehicle Operations Branch for 1985. He then became Deputy Base Commander for a multimission base with ATC, SAC and AFRes flying units.

Col. Azuma was assigned to Hanscom AFB, MA as the Electronic Systems Division Chief of Staff in 1987. He then served as the Assistant Deputy Commander for Advanced Technology and directed efforts for the national priority Strategic Defense Initiative and Air Defense Initiative.

He arrived at Vandenberg AFB, CA in November 1988 and served as the Director of Center Support for the Western Space and Missile Center.

A Master Navigator with over 4,300 flying hours, Col. Azuma's medals are noted above.

His educational background consists of a BS Degree in Business Administration from California State University at Los Angeles, MBA from Colden Gate University, Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College and Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He has a Doctorate of Flying Training Certificate and is a certified Acquisition Manager Level III.

Col. Azuma and his wife Kay have a son, Hideo Brett, and a daughter, Tamiko.

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