Rudi Mizusawa

Dear Proud to Be ’83,


It is with much sadness that I confirm the AOG’s recent announcement of the passing of Rudi Mizusawa on 31 May 2010.  He was the third of six sons of George T. and Theodora Mizusawa, and was raised in an Air Force family that settled in Hampton, Virginia. He is survived by his loving parents and five brothers, Manno, Bert, Rene, George and Gino.  Rudi was the proud biological father of Kaitlin Gaskin.


I have learned Rudi had been working recently almost non-stop in support of his brother Bert's run for Congress.  Last week he began to complain of headaches and pains.  He planned to take the weekend off and on Sunday called an ambulance to check himself into the local hospital.  Once there, he discussed his situation with the doctor and was admitted for tests and, shortly thereafter, his health nosedived.  Although not confirmed, he was diagnosed with septic shock, or blood poisoning.  Within a few hours of admission, he was put on full life support with IVs, a respirator, and an extremely low white blood cell count.  His blood pressure had dropped to 60/30 but climbed back up to 102/76 late in the afternoon and his family was hopeful, but it was simply too much.

Here is Rudi's USMA Eulogy Page



This is from his brother Bert's web page –


“This is my most difficult message. Despite my best intentions to attend Memorial Day events yesterday, I spent an unexpected day in the hospital attending to my younger brother, Rudi, who died 24 hours ago. I am devastated. I thought I was tough, but watching your younger brother – a very vibrant person… a week ago – die and pulling him off life support was extremely difficult. Rudi was a legend at both Kecoughtan High School (in Hampton) and West Point, ran into hard times and was one of my key campaign workers, and did an absolutely superb job.”


As a cadet, Rudi was one of our most talented classmates – whether it was getting straight “A” grades in subjects like Nuclear Physics, setting the Academy record for the Indoor Obstacle Course, or winning the Brigade Open in both boxing and wrestling – for him West Point was more often than not “another week in which to excel.”  He was my Beast roommate and tent mate during the monsoon at Lake Frederick in the Summer of ’79.  He came to West Point following a year on the “Rat Line” at VMI.  We often joked that he paid to get hazed that previous year, however his experiences at VMI translated into him singlehandedly carrying our squad and platoon through Beast – he was an expert in everything – bed making, shoe shining, poop learning, SAMI.  He was never too busy to help one of his classmates in need…and we were a needy bunch of new cadets.



Private services were held at Riverside-Altmeyer Funeral Home, 7415 River Rd., Newport News. Online condolences may be made by visiting


From his brother Bert –

Rudi died from septic shock at 8:44pm on 31 May due to a hospital-borne bacteria.  His case was somewhat unusual because he entered the hospital with it.  He was working for my congressional campaign, and doing a lot of outdoor work (putting in 4×8 signs and door to door), fairly stressful overall.  He was doing a great job, and impressed a lot of people on the campaign trail.  I last saw him on 23 May.  He was out sick, and not wanting to go to the hospital, basically waited too long to get treatment.  He called 911 near midnight 30 May, and was admitted to the critical care unit at Hampton Sentara.  I learned of his situation about 10 am the following morning, and by the time I arrived he was unconscious / sedated and on life support. I was the last to see him alive when I left him at 7:15 pm.  About 8:35pm I received a call that his heart had stopped and we had pre-authorized one and only one attempt at restarting his heart. When I arrive at the hospital at 9:05 I learned that he had died.

Rudi will be cremated in accordance with his wishes.  The link below is for the funeral home guestbook.  (BTW, Altmeyer funeral homes are owned by Jim Altmeyer USMA '61).

 Thank you for your support.

 Bert Mizusawa



Here's a cup to brave Mizusawa, and all who like him die,

Their souls upon the battle smoke ascend the upper sky;

May the angels there attend him and show him where to go

And join his comrades gone before, with Benny Havens, oh!