Soldier from Southern Pines featured in Army’s animated recruiting campaign

U.S. Army 1st Lt. David Toguchi retrained his brain to reach his dream — being a pilot, and the U.S. Army included his story in their recruitment campaign, “The Calling.” The new animated recruiting tool on YouTube was recently launched to help close the relatability gap between Gen Z and America’s largest military branch. 

“The Calling” shares the stories of five soldiers and their calling to serve. Each story offers a different perspective, obstacle and goal to be accepted into the U.S. Army. 

Video created by the U.S. Army.

Toguchi’s story empowers viewers because he had to overcome the loss of his mother as a young man, and he struggled with learning issues as his older brother, Rob, helped raise him.

“I learned absolutely nothing,” Toguchi said about seventh, eighth and ninth grade math classes.

After his mother’s death, Toguchi said a conversation with his brother who was a soldier empowered him to set goals. Toguchi paid attention in class, improved his grades and worked to stay physically fit.

The U.S. Army tested Toguchi for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and was found clear and given a waiver because he had been previously diagnosed. Toguchi said that waivers are common and not to let something like a learning disorder stop people from doing their best to enter the armed forces.

Toguchi said the military paid for his school, gave him a professional career, a resume, strong character, and he is now mentally improved in leadership, resilience and character. 

He entered the U.S. Army in 2019 and is a pilot of a Chinook helicopter

Toguchi grew up in Vass, and he attended Union Pines High School and East Carolina University. His father still lives in Vass.

Toguchi said he has a goal to reach students and share with them that he was not a good pupil, but he made his dream a reality. He said students can work hard and reach their goals, too. He said he praises God, gives it his best and tells students to hang out with the right people and have faith.

Part of his outreach is in an orphanage where he is stationed at Soto Cara Air Base in Honduras. He and his platoon have painted boys’ rooms and are building a chicken coop for the self-sustaining orphans.

At the end of the month, Toguchi plans to marry Abigail Bibb, a Blackhawk pilot. The couple met in flight school.

“A lot of times, I wish my mom could see me,” Toguchi said.

~Article, photo, and video by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie M. Sellers.

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