Another significant chapter in the long and distinguished history of Japanese Americans serving in the U.S. Armed Forces was added with the recent promotion of Navy officer David M. Boone. With his promotion to the rank of rear admiral, he becomes the 43rd military officer of Japanese descent and the 100th military officer of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to achieve the rank of admiral or general.
A ceremony to mark the occasion took place on Sept. 9 at Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va.
Rear Adm. Boone currently serves as director of the Shore Readiness Division on the Chief of Naval Operations’ staff and vice commander of Navy Installations in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for managing the policy and resources for 74 naval installations worldwide, ensuring that the fleet, fighters and their families are supported from the shore. A Seabee Combat Warfare officer and a Navy diver, Boone has served in a variety of sea and shore assignments.
Having spent the early part of his life in both Taiwan and Japan, Boone moved to the U.S. as a young man, landing in Oregon. As a high school student, serving in the U.S. Navy was far from his thoughts. He began working in construction while in high school. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the University of Oregon, but two years later, he was back working as a laborer on a farm, and later in construction, this time in California.
“I was an outdoors person. I liked doing construction,” said Boone. “I had a great deal of admiration for skilled craftsmen. I always found that working with your hands was a very honorable position.” While working on a project one grueling day, he was inspired to do more. “I was on a job digging a trench with two other guys, the soil was full of rocks in 95 degree heat, when a car appeared. Three guys came out, wearing three-piece suits and construction hats. They walked around for a few minutes, and went back into their air conditioned cars and left. I asked, ‘who are those guys?’ When I found out they were engineers and found out what civil engineers did, I knew I wanted to be an engineer.”
Boone returned to school, this time at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, where he studied Civil Engineering. He credits both his appreciation for skilled laborers and his college education for eventually paying dividends as he advanced through the ranks of the Navy.
According to Boone, there was no military background in his family and nothing pointing him in the direction of the Navy. He does credit a friend, however, who encouraged him to listen to a recruitment pitch by a Civil Engineer Corps officer in 1982.
Joining the Navy was a “great decision,” Boone added.
Boone has garnered a great level of respect from his peers.
“Rear Admiral Boone ascends to this rank with 27 years of service as an officer and leader of the highest caliber,” said Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet, a Japanese American with headquarters in Naples, Italy. “He is recognized as one of the foremost military civil engineers and a man who took the hard jobs that required a person of action. His promotion to Rear Admiral comes as no surprise as he is a proven warrior with an incredible and exciting future for our Navy and our country.”
Boone and his wife, Meg, have five children, including three who were adopted from Japan, China and Korea. He credits his family with supporting him throughout his naval career and tries to instill the values he grew up with into his own children.