Japan Honors Arkansas resident Colonel Douglas Charles DeLaMater, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
On April 29, 2017, the Government of Japan bestowed upon retired United States Air Force Colonel Douglas Charles DeLaMater a prestigious decoration, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Japan-U.S. relations. The decoration was conferred by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on the same day. The Consul-General of Japan in Nashville, Mr. Masami Kinefuchi, hosted a formal conferment ceremony and reception in honor of Mr. DeLaMater at his official residence on September 1.
The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875 as the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government. The decoration is bestowed upon individuals who have made significant contributions to positive relations between Japan and her friends. Mr. DeLaMater is recognized primarily for his service and dedication to the Japan-U.S. security relationship as Commander for the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokata Air Base, Japan, from June 2014 through June 2016.
Colonel DeLaMater made numerous contributions to the strong partnership between the U.S. Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force at Yokata Air Base in Tokyo. Under his leadership, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force participated, for the first time, in a joint operation to deliver humanitarian and disaster relief assistance with the 374th Airlift Wing. Colonel DeLaMater organized lectures and training on night vision devices for the C-130H transport plane, using U.S. Air Force experience to progress the operational study of that plane.
Colonel DeLaMater also worked to finalize the Memorandum of Understanding that ensured the continuous dispatch of an air traffic controller from the JASDF to Radar Approach Control at Yokota Air Base, thereby strengthening U.S.-Japan information sharing on air traffic control systems. His relationship with the JASDF ensured effective maintenance operations for Yokota Air Base’s communications infrastructure.
Colonel DeLaMater also strengthened the ties between U.S. and Japanese forces by allowing JASDF officers to participate in various training programs at Yokota. He increased the friendship and mutual understanding between U.S. forces and Japanese residents who lived in the area surrounding Yokota by welcoming those residents to visit and tour the base, and interact with American families.