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Army to promote son of Hawaii-born WWII vet

Maj. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone

U.S. DEPT OF DEFENSE PHOTO

By GREGG K. KAKESAKO | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (Tribune News Service) | Published: September 17, 2016

The U.S. Senate this week confirmed the nomination of Maj. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the son of a World War II Japanese-American Military Intelligence Service soldier, to the rank of lieutenant general.

Nakasone, 53, will become the commanding general of the U.S. Army Cyber Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., and also will serve as the commanding general of 2nd Army. He’ll receive his third star in October, the Army said.

He is currently serving as commander of the Cyber National Mission Force at Fort Meade, Md.

“The Cyber National Mission Force is responsible for protecting the nation from disruptive and destructive attacks in cyberspace,” said Nakasone during a 2015 visit to St. John’s University in New York, where he received his Army commission through its ROTC program in 1986. “We have 2,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines stationed in four different parts of the country, and we’re headquartered at Fort Meade.”

In 2013, the Army established cyber as a career branch — the first career branch created since Special Forces nearly 30 years ago. It was followed by the creation a year later of the Army’s cyber training school at Fort Gordon, Ga., to train soldiers in defensive and offensive cyber warfare skills.

In July, the Army designated the Army Cyber Command as an Army Service Component Command, which aligns the command with other component commands such as U.S. Army Europe and the service’s Special Operations Command. It is responsible for the Army’s cyberspace operations and the protection of its information network.

Nakasone was born in St. Paul, Minn.

His father, Edwin Nakasone, was born in Wahiawa and graduated from Leilehua High School in 1945.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the elder Nakasone was drafted and was stationed with occupational forces in Japan from 1947 to 1948 as a linguist and interpreter.

In a May interview in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Edwin Nakasone recalled the 1941 attack.

“I was 14 years old, in the kitchen of my family’s home on Oahu, eating a bowl of corn flakes. While looking out through the screen door, I spotted planes flying through the Kolekole Pass on their way to attack Pearl Harbor and Wheeler Army Airfield.”

After the war, Edwin Nakasone attended the University of Hawaii and was commissioned through its ROTC program. He served in the Army Reserve, retiring as a colonel in 1987.

Edwin Nakasone retired in Minnesota after teaching history and political science. In 2001, he authored the book “Japanese Americans of Minnesota,” which includes interviews with Japanese-American veterans about war experiences as members of a distrusted ethnic minority.

Maj. Gen. Nakasone has held command and staff positions in the U.S., South Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to taking command of the Cyber National Mission Force, he was the deputy commanding general of U.S. Cyber Command. He also served on two occasions as a staff officer on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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