By Mr. Johnathon Orrell (SDDC)June 18, 2019
The 19th edition of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's Surface Warrior Spotlight shines brightly on the land of the rising sun and Osamu Ogawa, a Japanese local national serving as a marine terminal superintendent with the 599th Transportation Brigade's 836th Transportation Battalion in Yokohama, Japan.
Ogawa was nominated for the spotlight by his supervisor, Marty Keck.
"In my 18 years with SDDC, Mr. Ogawa is the best marine cargo specialist I have ever worked with," said Keck. "I have learned more about vessel and terminal operations from him than you could ever learn from any school. He is a wealth of knowledge."
Ogawa began his tenure with SDDC in 1985, back when the command was called the Military Traffic Management Command. When he started, he was responsible for making the plans for loading and discharging military cargo to and from ships in the port. Still to this day, this is something he primarily does on a day-to-day basis.
"Mr. Ogawa is the complete package. He can go anywhere and complete any mission, he is the heart and soul of any deployment team, and he is the ultimate team member. He has 34 years' worth of vessel operations under his belt and he has literally seen it all. I would say that he is the reason behind the success of the 836th Transportation Battalion," Keck added.
He and his wife Chikako have been married for 20 years.
Now it is time to bring Osamu into the Surface Warrior Spotlight, a program that highlights different members of the SDDC workforce every few weeks through a series of interview-style questions that focus on his or her unique background, personal stories and experiences.
Q: What do you do day to day for SDDC?
A: Based on a ship's stow plan and cargo list, as a marine cargo specialist I make discharge plans and pre-stow plans. I follow the plan, discuss details with contractor stevedores and make a request order for material handling equipment as an alternate contracting officer representative.
Q: What is your favorite family tradition?
A: Go to Hawaii every summer vacation. Hawaii is my second home.
Q: If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
A: When the Four black ships (of Commodore Perry) came in Uraga at the gate of Tokyo Bay in 1853. It made Japan open (for trade with the western world) and I live in near the town.
Q: What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
A: I lifeguard at Zushi beach off-shore as speed boat driver from May and October. I've been doing this since 1984. I also operate small boat for a judge of the World Triathlon Yokohama every year. And since 2017 I have volunteered as a chief instructor of Maritime Safety for the 3rd district of the Japan Coast Guard.
Q: If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?
A: Tarp for sun shade and to catch rain.
A: Bottle to keep rain water.
A: Hatchet to make tools for fishing and to make fire.
Q: What drew you to SDDC originally?
A: Relationships. I made friends with people who do the same job at the 835th Transportation Battalion in Okinawa and the 837th Transportation Battalion in Busan.
Q: Before working at SDDC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
A: In 1978, I was a salesman for Sony for seven years. I sold video Betamax and Walkman - young people might not know what those are. Sony was not a game and movie company in those days.
Q: What is your personal motto or mantra?
A: "Do anything five minutes earlier," because I don't need to rush. "Turn in anything that you use to each original location where it was," this makes it easier to find the next time.
Q: If you were an animal what would you be?
A: A dog. I like dogs.
Q: Where is your favorite place to eat?
A: A local restaurant in Taiwan.
Q: What did you want to be when growing up?
A: I wanted to be an airline pilot. I always wanted to go abroad.
Q: How has SDDC helped you in your career development?
A: I was not sea man before. So I started to learn about shipping, navigation, weather, military vehicles, hazardous cargo, how to lift aircraft, how to segregate ammunition and cargo handling material forklift and cranes. My boss gave me time to learn and familiarize myself with new things. I attended ship stow class, hazardous material class, (and other classes) for two years of on-the-job training under my senior marine cargo specialist.
Q: What is the best vacation you've been on?
A: My honeymoon. My wife and I were married at a church located atop of Mt. First in Grindelwald, Switzerland in June 1999. Both of our families attended and then we toured the country for the next 10 days.
Q: What is the one thing that you can't live without?
A: Rice. I love to eat it.
Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
A: Please use CGI or Pikachu. I could not find a Hollywood actor with no hair and short legs.
Q: If you could switch your job with anyone else within SDDC, whose job would you want?
A: No one. My job is the best. Also, I don't want to study new things anymore.
Q: What do you like to do on your days off?
A: Trekking, walking and travelling abroad while wearing my Kimono.
Q: What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
A: The mobile phone. It has changed everything I do from before I had it. I've discarded records, CDs, albums and heavy maps.
Q: What do you find the most challenging at SDDC?
A: Transporting a lot of vehicles and large amounts of cargo using big ships. It is a very exciting job, but it can be difficult to plan.
Q: What is your favorite part about working for SDDC?
A: Watching the cargo moving on site. I like to watch the crane lift cargo on and off the ship and watch the trucks roll on and off the ship.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: Echi-go Echi-e. In Japanese, it means the only chance in your life. As my recognition, it means to try and enjoy anything that is your life.
Q: What has been your favorite project at SDDC?
A: Ammunition movements in Kure, Japan. You have to think of several elements, such as ammo class segregation, winds, currents of anchorage, travel time of tug/barge between ship and pier and ship's crane conditions.
Q: Who is your favorite superhero?
A14: Dainichi Nyorai Buddha -- the God of Sun and guard of my birth year.
That's all for Osamu's time in the spotlight, but you can check out his Surface Warrior Spotlight video on SDDC's YouTube page at https://youtu.be/Kq4LXZf6MmQ.
Do you know of a Surface Warrior that should be in the spotlight? If so, please contact the SDDC Public Affairs Office.