A Japanese-American Gymnastics Team Captain At West Point In The 1960s

Tadahiko Ono


Tad Ono was born in Japan in 1942 to an American mother and a Japanese father. He came to America in 1955 and ended up in New York City. He remembers seeing Pete Dawkins in an Armed Forces Day parade and being inspired to attend West Point, also realizing that his single mother could not afford to send him to college otherwise. At West Point, he was the captain of the gymnastics team before commissioning as an engineer officer. In this short interview, conducted as research for a Cadet’s senior thesis in History, Tad Ono discusses his childhood and his experiences on the West Point gymnastics team. He addresses being one of a small minority of Asian / Pacific Cadets at the time, and explains how that shaped his time at the Academy. He reflects on issues of race at the Academy in the early 1960s. Finally, he briefly describes his experiences as an Engineer Company Commander in Vietnam.


conflicts Vietnam War World War II
topics Army Athletics Race in the Military West Point History Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie USMA 1965
interviewer CDT Omar-Rashon Borja
date 12 March 2021


name Tadahiko Ono
institution USMA
graduation year 1965
service Engineer
unit 25th Infantry Division
specialty Gymnastics Team Captain
service dates 1965 1991