Calif. Wing’s Ishikata Chosen to Command Pacific Region
A former cadet and longtime member of Civil Air Patrol with nearly 30 years’ experience in the U.S. Army has been selected as the Pacific Region’s new commander.
Lt. Col. George K. Ishikata of the California Wing’s San Francisco Cadet Squadron accepted the appointment by Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP’s national commander and CEO, on Sept. 20. Ishikata succeeds Col. Jon Stokes, who has commanded the region since 2016.
Ishikata’s three-year term as region commander, which will come with a promotion to colonel, begins Nov. 14.
“I look forward to the opportunity of working with Col. Ishikata in this new capacity,” Smith said. “I strongly believe that he is the best choice for the position, considering his extensive CAP credentials, particularly in Cadet Programs, as well as his leadership experience from the Army.”
Ishikata’s CAP career began in 1977, when he served as a cadet before embarking on a career in the Army. Over the past 43 years, alongside his military service, he has served at multiple levels of CAP, helping lead the San Francisco Cadet Squadron – one of the California Wing’s most successful units – and, more recently, at the wing and national levels.
He has been the national Cadet Programs staff coordinator since September 2017 and is the past director of cadet programs for the California Wing.
Ishikata served as the course director for the Pacific Region Cadet Leadership School and commander of the California Wing’s Cadet Officer Basic Course for over three decades. This course – CAP’s premier activity for cadet officer instruction – has trained nearly 1,000 cadet officers through the Pacific Region and was one of the first approved by National Headquarters as a region school, based on the quality of the curriculum.
He has been recognized by multiple Pacific Region and California Wing commanders for the quality instruction he has provided to both cadets and cadet program officers.He has also actively served with the national Cadet Officer School and with the International Air Cadet Exchange.
Ishikata is a CAP mission radio operator and mission staff assistant and is training to be a mission safety officer and small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) technician. He has a master rating in command and administration as well as cadet programs, and a senior rating in finance, logistics and historian.
“For me, CAP has served as an educational and social institution that provided me the foundation for my subsequent military career and now my career as a high school teacher,” Ishikata said.
CAP "helped make me the person I am today." he said. "I have a strong desire to give back to CAP and help guide our organization into the future. I am grateful for this new opportunity to lead.”
Equally as impressive as his array of CAP credentials is Ishikata’s service in the Army, from which he retired as a colonel.
He served in intelligence operations as an Army military intelligence officer, holding sensitive intel positions at the highest levels in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. He also had successful commands at the battalion level, where he gained considerable experience in budget and asset acquisition.
Ishikata also has experience in strategic planning, earning the Army’s Strategist designation.
He is a graduate of San Francisco State University, with a bachelor’s degree in speech and communications studies, and the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with a master’s degree in military arts and sciences.
Ishikata is a recipient of two Defense Superior Service Medals from the Army, the Legion of Merit Award and a Bronze Star Medal, as well as five Meritorious Service Medals. Other military honors include the Federal Asian/Pacific American Council Meritorious Service Award, which he received in 2006.
His CAP awards include five Exceptional Service Awards, two Meritorious Service Awards and five Commander’s Commendation Awards, in addition to five Unit Citation Awards presented to his squadron.
“The candidate pool from which we had to choose was rich in talent and experience,” said Brig. Gen. Ed Phelka, CAP’s national vice commander who chaired the selection committee for Pacific Region commander. “I offer my congratulations and thanks to all those who interviewed.”