The Coast Guard presented 92-year-old Coast Guard veteran, Rikio Izumi, with the National Defense Service Medal Friday at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach.
Capt. Rebecca Ore, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander, presented Izumi with the medal for his service aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Casco (WAVP-370) from 1951 to 1953.
“It was an honor to be able to provide Mr. Izumi with this long overdue medal,” said Capt. Rebecca Ore, Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander. “Mr. Izumi’s service to his country and Los Angeles county are an inspiration to all of us.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Defense Service Medal on April 22, 1953. The medal may be awarded to service members who served honorably during a designated time period of when a national emergency had been declared during a time of war or conflict. To date, the medal has been awarded during four specific time-periods corresponding to the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and the Global War on Terrorism.
Mr. Izumi was born in Hawaii in 1930 and enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1951. He then served aboard the Casco homeported in Boston. During his time on the Casco, Mr. Izumi was assigned to the ships rescue unit and was directly responsible for the rescue of two children who had been swept out to sea near Miami.
Izumi was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard in 1953 and relocated to Los Angeles where he would marry his wife Mikuri in 1954. He used his G.I. Bill to attend Woodbury College in Los Angeles and later worked as a landscape architect for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. He eventually became the County’s head trail planner. Izumi designed much of Los Angeles County’s equestrian trail system and bicycle trails such as the beach trail passing through Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Rey and Santa Monica. An equestrian trail in Malibu is named after Izumi.