Earning Her Wings

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Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake graduates from Airborne School.

After completing five parachute jumps, Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake had her wings pinned on by Sgt. First Class Raymond Richardson, senior paralegal NCO, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga. (Photo by Capt. Greg Peterson, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.)

After completing five parachute jumps, Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake had her wings pinned on by Sgt. First Class Raymond Richardson, senior paralegal NCO, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga. (Photo by Capt. Greg Peterson, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.)

FORT BENNING, Ga. – On Nov. 26, 2014, over 400 new paratroopers earned their wings after completing the three-week Army Basic Airborne Course and five jumps.

One of the new paratroopers is JAVA (Japanese American Veterans Association) life member and former editor of the JAVA Advocate, Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake. She is currently assigned as deputy staff judge advocate for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Military lawyers are assigned to all Army units. Some units, such as the 82nd Airborne Division, require soldiers to be Airborne-qualified before they can be assigned to the unit. Other units do not require Airborne qualification, but when lawyers earn Airborne wings, they demonstrate that they are willing to go through the same training as the soldiers they support.

As one of the most senior ranking officers in the course, Wakatake was extremely proud of her accomplishment at this stage of her career. She said, “Although I am twice as old as most of the other students, I was confident that I could handle the physical fitness requirements. It was the exit from the plane and the landing that concerned me the most! Fortunately, I was scared enough to pay close attention during the fine training I received, and that paid off.”

JAVA President Wade Ishimoto, a storied paratrooper himself, provided moral support: “Congratulations to Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake on becoming a qualified paratrooper! She joins several other JAVA members who are also paratroopers, including JAVA’s secretary, Lt. Col. Al Goshi (retired), and treasurer Lt. Col. Mark Nakagawa (retired).”

Wakatake returns to the assembly area after completing her first airborne jump on Nov. 24, 2014.  (Photo by 5jump)

Wakatake returns to the assembly area after completing her first airborne jump on Nov. 24, 2014. (Photo by 5jump)

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  1. Takasumi Kojima on

    Our congratulation for graduating from the Airborne School. It takes lot of physical training and commitment to finish the Airborne course; it also means a lot for your career in the Army. I attended this school back in 1959 and it meant a lot during my tour in the Army. Takasumi Kojima

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