Obituary – Col George K. Ishikata:
George was born February 22, 1962, in Chicago, IL and grew up in San Francisco, CA. He attended Lowell High School, graduated San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in speech and communications studies, and later earned a master’s degree in military arts and sciences from the Army Command and General Staff College. George spent his career in the California Army National Guard and US Army as a Military Intelligence officer, both in the National Guard and in key positions in Washington DC and overseas. Upon retiring from the Army, George started a second career as a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, and later assumed the role of Director of Army Instruction for the San Francisco JROTC Brigade.
George married Albulena Demiri in 2010 in Kosovo. Although they had no children, he adored his nephew and niece, Leo and Alena, and sister-in-law Linda.
George joined the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) in 1977 at Lowell High School. As a cadet he participated in the winning competitive Drill Platoon, spending many hours in after-school drill practice. He rose in leadership ranks to serve as a Company Commander in Lowell’s battalion. George stayed on at Lowell for several years, serving as an Assistant Instructor to his mentor, Sergeant Major Mack Yoshida.
George joined Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in 1977, and it soon became a focal point of his life. As a member of San Francisco Cadet Squadron 86 (Excellence in Action), he achieved meaningful leadership roles in the Cadet Advisory Council and as Commander of California Wing’s Cadet Training Group. As an adult leader in Civil Air Patrol, George was an esteemed member of the National Cadet Team and proudly served as the Commander of Pacific Region. He led California Wing’s Cadet Officer Basic Course for over twenty years, mentoring over a thousand cadet officers as they explored their own leadership identities. George served as an instructor at CAP’s Cadet Officer School and escorted cadets to Australia on the International Air Cadet Exchange.
George commissioned into the California Army National Guard as a Military Police officer
in 1985. He served in the 49th Military Police Brigade, 100th Troop Command and 40th Infantry Division, and commanded the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion (Linguist). George deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo, with his final duty at the Pentagon, retiring in 2015.
As a leader in the San Francisco JROTC community, George did much more than mentor cadets. He fought continually to keep JROTC in San Francisco high schools, and worked tirelessly to improve the experience cadets received at activities. He worked with the veteran community and with San Francisco politicians to both enhance the JROTC program and ensure its survival.
His accomplishments are numerous, including being the recipient of two Defense Superior
Service Medals, the Legion of Merit and 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.
George passed away of natural causes on December 30, 2021, in San Francisco, CA.George is survived by his wife Lena, brother Chik, and many dear friends. He left a legacy among JROTC and CAP cadets who will continue to develop their own leadership identities and live up to the values George set of service, loyalty, and integrity.