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News | Dec. 29, 2023

Endless surf ahead for retiring Pacific operations lead

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

The days of attacking 15-foot giants on a surfboard may be over for Jon Mitsuyasu, but his desire to ride steady over life’s big swells remains.

“I’m gonna think, I’m gonna laugh and I’m gonna cry, every single day,” said Mitsuyasu, a near-daily surfing enthusiast who retires after 35 years with the Defense Logistics Agency on Dec. 30.

The Hawaii-born and raised Mitsuyasu joined the Pearl Harbor office as a GS-4 documentation clerk in what was then known as the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service in 1988, after a dozen years working as a logistician for the Air Force’s local Morale, Welfare and Recreation office. He said that joining DLA’s property disposal mission brought him greater satisfaction than any of the jobs that came before. 

“I enjoyed doing the work,” he said. “DLA was good to me. I got to see a lot of the world. Traveled a lot. Met a lot of nice people. The work was challenging.” 

Hawaii remained homebase for his entire DLA Disposition Services career, but a 2007 deployment to Camp Anaconda in Iraq to serve as the DRMO site chief made him treasure his role even more.

“I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed doing it any more than when I deployed to Iraq,” Mitsuyasu said. “Being on the front line with the soldiers really hit home for me. DLA gave me that opportunity. I felt like I was contributing to a real cause and mission. It may sound corny, but that’s the truth.” 

He cited a few support efforts among those that he was most proud of, including his work serving as organizational point man on the removal of range residue from Kahoolawe Island.

“I represented DRMS International on negotiations and meetings with the Navy at Pearl Harbor,” he said, pointing to the solid working relationship he had developed with them and the trust he had earned. “The Navy wanted me – just me – not everybody else – to attend so they could yell at me.” 

The three-star admiral said one thing, Mitsuyasu said another. In the end, they made it work out and got an initially contentious contract signed.

“That was a challenging effort,” he said.

Other big region developments he cited included the first-of-its-kind adoption of a hybrid scrap disposal and sales contract for Japan instituted in 2006 that saved the agency significant effort and money and helped it put bigger proceeds back into its general operating fund. The effort, which he said that he “pushed hard,” was later repeated in Guam.

“That was a great thing,” he said. “To this day we’re still doing it. I think that’s a success.”

Faron Cordry, the agency’s director for property disposal across the Pacific region, said “Jon was always willing to lend a helping hand – he never said ‘no.’”

Mitsuyasu said being helpful came easy because he always put the mission first.

“I’m a team guy,” he said. “I didn’t work in a vacuum. I got as many people as I needed to get efforts moving. I was not afraid to ask. I couldn’t do it all myself.”

As someone who has always stayed physically active while seeing some friends and family in his age group start to falter, he encouraged the DLA team members he is leaving to prioritize their health and well being as they continue to tend to the logistics needs of the nation’s warfighters.

“Take care of your health. Take care of your family. What’s important to you needs to be taken care of,” he said. “I have no regrets. I appreciate everything during my career.”

As for Mitsuyasu himself, he’ll be paddling out there somewhere beyond the beach, eyes to the horizon, looking for that next wave.