U.S. Army veteran Spc. Hilmer Nakamura: Expect the unexpected
By Annette P. Gomes, Army Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - U.S. Army veteran Spc. Hilmer Nakamura says he sees the opportunity in every challenge life has thrown his way.

"Throughout my whole life I have always been a positive person. I have failed a lot of times, but I take the lessons and I learn from them," Nakamura said.

After starting his own family, Nakamura began working on obtaining an associate's degree in agriculture. With two semesters left, Nakamura realized he would have trouble finding a job because he did not have the experience to support his resume. He began looking into other options for a means to support and sustain his growing family, including joining the military.

"I did a lot of research on the Army and how it could help me and my family. After a short time, I decided to join," Nakamura recalled. "During the same week I went to the recruiting station, I took the entrance exam and luckily I passed it. That is how my Army career began," he added.

In April 2018, two years and five months into his service, Nakamura's Army career came to an end. He was hit by an armored truck carrying maintenance tools and one of his legs was crushed requiring a partial foot amputation that reduced his mobility.

While healing at the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Nakamura says he needed to figure out a Plan B. He got involved in the Career and Education Readiness Program, Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program and he participated in the Adaptive Reconditioning program.

Just one year after the accident, Nakamura has put Plan B into action. This April, he began a career as a warehouse manager in North Carolina. Nakamura credits utilizing his resources at the WTU along with guidance from staff and cadre for his successful recovery and new career.

"The military taught me to be brave, strong, a good leader and a good role model. I didn't give up easily just because I knew that if I gave up then my family would not be able to live a better life," said Nakamura.

A goal he focuses on as he navigates the twists and turns life has dealt him.

"I have two favorite motto's that I have been using in my whole life: "Go with the flow and expect the unexpected." The reason why I like these motto's is because you don't know what will happen to you in your life and the future. You have try to stay happy and knowing that everything happens for a reason. I am Christian and I believe that our heavenly father has plans for all of us," Nakamura said.