|Mr. Neal J. Kusumoto
Technical Director of Mine Warfare
Neal Kusumoto is a native of Vancouver, WA raised in West Sacramento, CA and Lanikai, HI. He graduated from Iolani High School and was named Hawaii’s Junior Citizen of the Year in 1974. He was commissioned in 1981 from the US Naval Academy with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Kusumoto served deployed seven times in seven sea tours, all but one in the Pacific Fleet, during his 25 year Surface Warfare career. LCDR Kusumoto commanded USS SENTRY (MCM 3) in 1993-1994. SENTRY successfully completed the first MCM-1 class overseas deployment to Europe and the Baltic, distinguishing itself during BLUE HARRIER (BALTOPS) and NATO operations. CDR Kusumoto commanded USS VANDEGRIFT (FFG 48) from 1998-1999, changing homeports from San Diego to Yokosuka and named “#1 warfighter” for RIMPAC 98. CAPT Kusumoto commanded USS MOBILE BAY (CG 53) in 2003-2004, winning the Battle Efficiency and Golden Anchor awards.
Commander Kusumoto served as the Surface Warfare Officer Community Manager in 1994-1995, initiating a broad agenda to enhance SWO pride that included SWO Continuation Pay, restricted SWO Pin qualifications, and discrete selection of officer attrites from other communities. He attended the NATO Defense College in Rome and is the President of the US Anciens (alumni) association. He also attended the Naval War College and Naval Postgraduate School. His second Washington tour was on the Joint Staff, where he worked in J3 Readiness and then was chosen as Deputy EA to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a year that included 9/11 and the start of the Global War on Terrorism. CAPT Kusumoto was the Director of Command Training at Surface Warfare Officers’ School (SWOS), where he ran the Major Command, Commanding Officer and Executive Officer courses. His final shore duty was as a Deputy Program Manager for Special Warfare Command (SEALs), where he modified the JOINT VENTURE (HSV-1) and put together and trained a joint Navy-Army crew to conduct special operations in Southeast Asia. His decorations include a Defense Superior Service and Meritorious Service Medals.
Mr. Kusumoto retired after twenty-five years of naval service. He served as the Executive Director of Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC) Corpus Christi and is now the Technical Director for Mine Warfare at Surface and Mine Warfare Development Command (SMWDC).
He enjoys golf, racquetball, fishing and travel. He has written a non-fiction book entitled Seaman Jenna: A Dog’s Days in the Navy.