Muneo Michael Okusa

muneo okusa
On January 8, 2015, Muneo Michael Okusa, 95, of Great Falls, VA, died quietly and peacefully at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Naomi and Thomas Dellinger, respectively. He is survived by his wife, Hideko Okusa, daughter, Naomi Okusa Dellinger, son, Mark Douglas Okusa, grandchildren, Kate Makiye Okusa, Michael Kunio Okusa and Jason Takeo Okusa.

In living 95 years, Mike had more life experiences than many of us would hope to have encountered. He was a kind and caring, soft-spoken, thoughtful, humble person whose life was shaped by a lifetime of extraordinary events. He was a proud Japanese American with 22 years in active US military service and additional decades in US government service. Mike was born in Paxton, Nebraska, on October 31, 1920. He was born to a farmer, Sotaro Okusa, and his wife Satoe Matsutani. Life on a farm in Paxton was austere and lacked the common amenities that exist today. There was no electricity, heating system, or running water. Mike enjoyed what he believed were the true qualities of life unadulterated by today's technology and other luxuries that would have detracted from the pure and simple lifestyle that he enjoyed in Paxton. Mike was subjected to confinement in internment camps during WWII, but later was recruited along with many of his Nisei compatriots to dedicate themselves to fighting for the American war effort. He joined the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) and received training at Camp Savage, Minnesota. During WWII he served as a linguistics expert, along with many other Nisei who demonstrated their loyalty to the United States; their collective efforts were felt by many to have shortened the war by 2 years. He and other Nisei in the MIS, 100th Regiment and 442nd Regimental Combat Team were recognized collectively by the United States and were honored individually with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2011. Mike also served in the invasion force in April 1965 to stabilize the Dominican Republic during the Dominican Civil War. He retired from active military service as a Major in June 30, 1965. His intelligence service continued through several more decades in positions in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. During his time in the CIA he served in Vietnam for 3 years during the height of the conflict. He received a number of awards, including the American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal. He was also the recipient of The Meritorious Civilian Service Medal from the National Security Agency and the Intelligence Medal of Merit from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mike was more than a husband, father, and grandfather. He was a friend to many and touched the lives of those around him. He continued to serve the cause of the Nisei as one of the founding members of the Japanese American Veterans Association from the time of its establishment in 1992. He served as Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors.

Mike had many hobbies and was a perfectionist; he was known for his precision and excellence. This is clearly exemplified by his woodworking projects in constructing innovatively designed tables and his cultivation of award-winning chrysanthemums. He was a master at gardening with beautiful azaleas, rose beds and a vegetable garden that was the envy of many who visited. He was an avid fisherman, and the family loved fishing and crabbing with him. He enjoyed cooking especially for family gatherings.

The family would like to express a heartfelt thanks to the dedicated caregivers, especially Maria Alvarez and Herminia Winter and Veronica Rochas, for providing loving care to Mike. Lastly, he will be remembered by those who were close to him and by his children and grandchildren who shed a tear but smile when they see within themselves enduring threads of his traits.

A celebration of life will be held at The Atrium, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Court, Vienna VA 22182 (703-255-3631 x105) on Friday, February 19, 2016, from 2-5 PM. Mike will have a Full Military Honors Funeral Service at Ft. Myer Old Post Chapel on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM, those attending are asked to gather at the chapel at 12:15 PM. Interment will follow in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Major Mike M. Okusa Scholarship Fund (details at In addition an online guestbook and information regarding the Celebration of Life and funeral services will be updated regularly.

Major Mike Okusa Scholarship Fund. Scholarships will be made annually to direct descendants of Japanese American WWII Veterans ("Okusa Scholarship Fund", c/o Mark Nakagawa, Acting Treasurer, Japanese American Veterans Association, 9455 Park Hunt Court, Springfield, VA 22153).

Funeral Home:

Money & King Funeral Home

171 W. Maple Ave.

Vienna, VA

US 22180

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  1. Thanks for your service to our country and to those of us who were truly blessed to have crossed your path. RIP

  2. Mike Okusa’s work with the Military Intelligence Service was brave and unselfish during a time of many social challenges. He helped pave the way for the life we, Japanese Americans, enjoy today and I am deeply grateful. My condolences to the Okusa family for your loss.

  3. Dennis and I loved Mr. Okusa from the first time we met him he made us feel like family. Reading his obituary you can see what a awesome man he was but that cannot begin to describe the incredible man we knew and loved.

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