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40 years, no plans to retire: AF civilian answers the call

Master Sgt. Camille Carrington, 747th Communications Squadron flight chief, and Tech. Sgt. Isaac Logan, 747th CS section chief, congratulate Roy Sakaguchi, 747th CS project manager,  on his 40 years of service at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 13, 2021. Sakaguchi, a Hawaiian native, started his career in 1981. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper)

Master Sgt. Camille Carrington, 747th Communications Squadron flight chief, and Tech. Sgt. Isaac Logan, 747th CS section chief, congratulate Roy Sakaguchi, 747th CS project manager, on his 40 years of service at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 13, 2021. Sakaguchi, a Hawaiian native, started his career in 1981. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper)

Roy Sakaguchi, 747th Communications Squadron project manager, receives an award for 40 years of civil service at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 13, 2021. Sakaguchi, a Hawaiian native, graduated with an electrical engineering degree and started working as a plant cable engineer at Wheeler Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper)

Roy Sakaguchi, 747th Communications Squadron project manager, receives an award for 40 years of civil service at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 13, 2021. Sakaguchi, a Hawaiian native, graduated with an electrical engineering degree and started working as a plant cable engineer at Wheeler Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper)

Col. Daniel Dobbels, 15th Wing commander, congratulates Roy Sakaguchi, 747th Communications Squadron project manager, on 40 years of service at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 13, 2021. Sakaguchi started working at the 15th Communication Squadron, that later became the 747th Communications Squadron in 2010 after transferring from Wheeler Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper)

Col. Daniel Dobbels, 15th Wing commander, congratulates Roy Sakaguchi, 747th Communications Squadron project manager, on 40 years of service at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 13, 2021. Sakaguchi started working at the 15th Communication Squadron, that later became the 747th Communications Squadron in 2010 after transferring from Wheeler Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Makensie Cooper)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM --

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up just 4% of members in civil service.

Roy Sakaguchi, 747th Communications Squadron project manager, who was born and raised in Hawaii, not only serves, but was recently recognized for 40 years of civil service.

With an electrical engineering degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Sakaguchi joined the 1843rd Engineering Installation Group at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, in 1981. “My job back then consisted of site surveys, laying telephone cables, and putting together a list of materials to bring telephone service to each of the buildings,” he said.

Sakaguchi was a part of the team that created the fiber optic cable plant that still runs today. He also helped design the original data switches and played a role in starting the communication network for the base.

“It’s strange to me, working for 40 years, I have been working longer than most young Airmen have been alive,” said Sakaguchi. “I am always learning and I feel as if I learn more from Airmen than they learn from me.”

Sakaguchi transitioned to Hickam Air Force Base in 1992, where he continues to manage equipment, cable installation projects, and consults on construction projects.

“Roy holds the squadron together, he is smart, humble, and is always eager to learn,” said Master Sgt. Camille Carrington, 747th CS flight chief. “To see him continue learning and growing and always being the best he can be, it is never too late to be a better asset to the team.”

Despite 40 years of service, Sakaguchi still continues to answer the call from 1981 to serve his country and has no immediate plans to retire.

“Roy continues to play a pivotal role for the squadron, 15th Wing, and Pacific Air Forces [PACAF],” said Lt. Col. Michael Brewer, 747th CS commander. “For four decades he’s provided tireless support to our Airmen and joint and coalition partners from providing communications on Bellows Air Force Station ensuring the president is able to communicate on Air Force One while in the Pacific.

`If that’s not service, I don’t know what is.”