COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum (CSPM) is honoring the legacy of Clifford Nakata as part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

“Through his patriotism, the activities of his life that brought him here, his impact on shaping and thus protecting the national defense, and his many contributions to institutions, corporations, and the very fabric of downtown Colorado Springs, Clifford S. Nakata FAIA has helped shape the character, buildings and urban fabric of Colorado Springs,” said CSPM Curator of History.

Clifford Nakata was drafted into the army and fought for the U.S. during the Korean Conflict. He completed 77 missions behind enemy lines and was the only member of his unit to have survived. He also worked as a NATO worker in Europe before choosing to settle in Colorado Springs, according to CSPM.

Nakata’s Planning Group was one of the premier professional military planning practices in the 1980s and 1990s. CSPM stated that Nakata provided the first ever survey of U.S. Army bases in Europe for the United States European Command (USAREUR). The survey helped locate and map all military communities and bases established after World War II. These practices are still in use today.

Nakata guided his Planning Group’s development of base master plans, mobilization plans and demobilization plans for U.S. bases throughout Germany, England, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, according to CSPM. He also developed plans for installations across the continental U.S. and Alaska, including the local installations of NORAD, Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson. CSPM stated that Nakata’s efforts in strengthening U.S. military installations in vital aspects of military engagement contributed to the United States’ victory in the Cold War.

Nakata was not only a significant planner in our nation’s history, but also a prolific architect, said CSPM. In response to the growth of Colorado Springs, he completed numerous education buildings including the Centennial Campus of Pikes Peak Community College, multiple buildings on the Colorado College campus, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and the United States Air Force Academy.

CSPM stated he completed a large number of school buildings for Academy School District 20 and Harrison School District 2. The Colorado Springs Jail, the Alamo Corporate Center, El Paso County building and Pikes Peak Center complex are among his signature civic buildings. His corporate projects included Current Inc., Goodwill Industries, IBM, and the corporate offices of GE Johnson and Nunn Construction companies.

His health care work included projects for the Penrose-St. Francis hospital system. CSPM said that Nakata’s planning and completion of the Downtown Action Plan, which shaped the development of Downtown Colorado Springs, is one Nakata’s most notable accomplishments.