Sugimoto, Mamoru

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Mamoru Sugimoto
4 November 1931 – 27 February 2017
Brigadier General Sugimoto.jpg
Nickname Sugi
Place of birth Raymond, Alberta
Place of death Waterloo, Ontario
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Forces
Rank Brigadier General
Brigadier General Mamoru Sugimoto (4 November 1931 - 27 February 2017) was a Canadian airman who served with the Royal Canadian Airforce and the Communications and Electronics Branch.

Early Life

Mamoru Sugimoto, "Sugi", was born on 04 November 1931 in Raymond Alberta, the eighth child in a family of ten children of Kisaburo and Moto Sugimoto.[1] He received his early education there and obtained his Senior Matriculation from the Raymond High School.[2]


He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force 14 December 1950 as an Aircraftsman Second Class (AC2), and after initial Manning Depot Training at Aylmer, was posted to 1 R&CS Clinton where he graduated in 1951 as a Radar Technician (Ground). After graduation, he pursued his trade as a Radar Technician at No 1 Supply Depot Weston and No 6 Repair Depot Trenton. In 1952, he was accepted as a first-year engineering student at Royal Roads Military College under the serving airman plan. After two years at Royal Roads, he finished his Military College education at RMC Kingston, graduating in 1956 while at the same time completing his training as a Tech/Tel officer during the summers with periods at the Clinton school and in an OJT program at other units. Promoted to Flying Officer in June 1956, he spent a few brief months at Air Force Headquarters, after which he began studies in September 1956 at the University of British Columbia, receiving his degree in Electrical Engineering the following year, 1957.[3]

After graduation from UBC, he spent two years with the Avro CF105 Flight Test Team at Malton, followed by two years as an equipment manager at Air Materiel Command Headquarters. He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in July 1960 while with Air Materiel Command, and a year later began a period of training on the BOMARC Missile at various USAF facilities, after which, in September 1962, he was posted to 447 BOMARC Squadron at Lamacaza. Promoted to Squadron Leader 6 July 1964, he became Chief of Maintenance at Lamacaza. Then, after a period with the Directorate of Communications Systems Engineering at CFHQ and attendance at the Canadian Forces Staff College, he was posted to Air Division Headquarters at Lahr as Staff Officer Communications in July 1965. Promotion to LCol 1 September 1969 found him at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, as Canadian Project Manager with the Mallard Project. In June 1971, he was posted to the Directorate of Aerospace Combat Systems at NDHQ, since like many former RCAF Tech/Tel officers, his primary classification of CELE is accompanied by a secondary qualification in Avionics.

Promotion to Col 15 November 1973 was immediately followed by a move to ADCHQ at North Bay where he filled the position of Deputy Chief of Staff Communications and Electronics in addition to carrying similar responsibilities in the co-located 22 NORAD Region Headquarters. Various changes came into effect with the advent of Air Command with its Headquarters at Winnipeg, but Col Sugimoto remained at North Bay with the Air Command Detachment, and assumed the duties of Deputy Chief of Staff Communications and Electronics for both Air Command and Air Defence Group Headquarters while continuing with his 22 NORAD Region Headquarters responsibilities.

Promoted BGen on 15 August 1976, he became Director General of Communications and Electronics Engineering and Maintenance (DGCEEM) at NDHQ. In the Communications and Electronics Branch, he became the first graduate of the serving airman plan (UTPM as it is now called) to reach General rank but he had many other firsts: he became the first Canadian of Japanese descent to be accepted at Royal Roads; the first officer from the Class of RMC ’56, as well as his class at the Canadian Forces Staff College to attain General Officer rank. However, his most cherished accomplishment was qualifying as a Battle Commander for the NORAD Region with Headquarters in North Bay, apparently the only non-aircrew officer to do so.[1]

BGen Sugimoto served as the Communications and Electronics Branch Advisor from 1976 until 1979.

BGen Sugimoto married the former Noriko Ikuta in 1961 and together they had two children, a son Akira (1965) and a daughter Alana (1968). Divorced in 1986. he later married Wendy Hilborn and had two step-children, step-daughter Micheline and step-son Richard.[4]

Retirement Years

Since leaving the Armed Forces, Sugi worked as an engineering consultant as well as a project manager before retiring completely. The golf courses in the Waterloo area as well as his backyard pool and garden occupied his time in the summers. In the winters, the local ski hills and trails did likewise.[1]

He passed away on 27 February 2017 in Waterloo, Ontario.

Related Pages

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Related Items


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 RMC Club of Canada Death Notices
  2. BGen Mamoru Sugimoto biography, Communications and Electronics Newsletter 1977/1 (March/April edition)
  3. Article on BGen Sugimoto
  4. Obituary, Waterloo Region Record, 4 March 2017