SAGAMI GENERAL DEPOT, Japan – Capt. Keligh Y. Daymon, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear officer assigned to the 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, is no stranger to the Pacific or Army life. Daymon is a third-generation commissioned officer, following her father, uncle and grandfather’s legacy of excellence dating back to the Korean War.
“I was born in Seoul, Republic of Korea, a product of the US-ROK alliance as my mother is Korean and father is American,” said Keligh Daymon jokingly. “My family moved to Okinawa, Japan shortly after, and then to Camp Zama until I was seven, 20 years ago. Afterwards, my family moved to Virginia, back to Korea, and then Nevada where my father retired and I attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.”
Keligh Daymon’s grandfather, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Roosevelt Daymon Sr., learned to fly airplanes as a crop duster; he followed his dream and became a fighter pilot, serving during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
“He always told me that the United States was the greatest country in the world, it is the only place in the world where despite your race, color or nationality, you can grow up to be someone,” said Roosevelt Daymon Jr., a retired Army captain and Keligh Daymon's father. “He didn't believe in excuses. He always made us say to him that ‘You're the best, they just don't know it yet; don't expect any favors; if it is to be, you have to make it happen yourself.’ There was no quit in a Daymon.”
Keligh Daymon was raised in an environment where family tradition and the Army values were instilled at an early age.
“We owe a debt to the United States that we can never repay,” said Keligh Daymon. “When it was my turn, I gave up law school. I traded in the law books for chemical defense ones. My grandfather, father and uncle have given up so many things in their lives in service to this nation and now it’s my turn. It is about selfless service and being the commissioned officers that the organization needs.”
Like many military families, her father was away frequently in service to the nation.
“My father was either deployed or on temporary duty eight to nine months out of every year,” Keligh Daymon recalled. “As a child I never really understood it. We moved around and I could never make friends that stayed around long enough. It was more difficult for me I think because I knew my dad was gone and couldn’t be told why. I only knew he was gone and missed out on important milestones of my life. They didn’t have the technology back then that they have now. As a service member now; I understand why he did the things he did. I now understand the sacrifices he made and why he made them.”
Keligh Daymon cherished the times her father was home.
“As a kid, he climbed Mount Fuji with me in his backpack,” Keligh Daymon recalled. “He served as the head coach for the Zama High School Football Team; I remember he would take me to practice every day, and during games, I was beside him on the sideline carrying his clipboard. When my dad was in town, he took the family to dinner every Saturday at Sagami Depot for Mongolian Barbeque at the Depot Club and as an alternative, we would visit a sushi bar out the back gate.”
Keligh Daymon spent the early years of her life in the community she now serves. Her father served as the logistics plans officer with U.S. Army Japan from October 1996 to March 2002.
“My primary role was the maintenance of and logistics input for all war plans for the defense of Japan and in support of Pacific region defense plans,” said Roosevelt Daymon Jr. “I became chief, Exercise Branch, Plans and Exercise Division, G4, USARJ in 2000, where I planned and oversaw logistics input to joint and bilateral command post exercises, such as Yama Sakura, and Keen Edge, Balikatan, Keen Sword, Orient Shield and many other training exercises designed to strengthen the U.S.-Japan partnership and improve the interoperability of U.S. Forces Japan, Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Ground Staff Office.”
In addition to her father and grandfather, Keligh Daymon's uncle has also served in the U.S. Army. Maj. Marshan Daymon, is currently serving as a logistician with 10th Support Group, USARJ, at Camp Kure U.S. Army Ammunition Depot, Japan. He also served with her in the 2nd Infantry Division, South Korea.
“Our family has a legacy of military service and as the youngest sibling, I'm just doing my part to carry it on," he said. "I was truly honored to see that Keligh decided to come into the military ... It has definitely been a blessing to have older siblings that have gone before us to point out the way ahead. What is truly so neat, is to have had my older brother serve at Camp Zama years ago, then me, and now Keligh.”
Some families have legacies or traditions of attending family reunions or things of that nature, the Daymon’s have serving in the military as their tradition.
“It has been a great experience to serve in the same geographical areas as my niece, Marshan Daymon said. “It’s a unique opportunity to serve together professionally and has enhanced our relationship and brought our family even closer. Whenever we're together, it's a physical reminder that the Army is a family business in a lot of ways.”
Keligh Daymon was the first woman in the Daymon household to join the service.
“When Keligh told me she wanted to join the Army, I was happy, but at the same time terrified,” said Roosevelt Daymon Jr. “I knew Keligh was smart enough and equipped with the perseverance to survive in today's Army, but I wanted to make sure she had the courage to see it through. Deep down, I would be happy and proud of her however it turned out.”
Keligh Daymon graduated from Reserve Officer Training Corps and commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2016. She completed the basic officer leader’s course, served at Camp Humphreys, South Korea for one year and then Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for three years. After Fort Leonard Wood she went to the captain’s career course and then moved back to Japan.
Today, Keligh Daymon serves as a CBRN officer, specializing in defense procedures, toxic agent training, demolition exposures and hazardous material operations.
“Capt. Daymon is a very motivated, dependable leader in the brigade’s operation section,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Keon Ellison, 38th ADA interface control officer. “Since her arrival to the unit in 2021, she instantly took the lead to shape 38th ADA’s CBRN program, applying her wealth of knowledge and experience for the betterment and readiness of the brigade.”
Keligh Daymon applies her drive to succeed to help soldiers and improve her organization.
“My most important goal during my service is to leave my organization better than I found it,” she said. “To strike a balance between equality and equity. I want to be the leader that my soldiers need. Sometimes as leaders we lose sight of that.”
Her personal goals are no small feat either.
“My personal goals are to complete my master’s degree ... from Missouri State and to have a family of my own,” said Keligh Daymon. “My professional goals are to complete my next primary military education at Command and General Staff College and go to School of Advanced Military Studies, achieve the rank of colonel, and retire with 20 years of faithful service.”
Keligh Daymon reflected on changes since her predecessors time in service.
“It is a different Army now and people are more cognizant of equal opportunities and providing opportunities to everyone,” she said. “It’s not without its challenges; but I think those are challenges you would find in any work environment, especially one that has such high importance like national security and protection of our nations.”