Marine Veteran Tim Kao is today's Veteran of the day.

During Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Tim Kao, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tim Kao graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1996, as a distinguished graduate with a bachelor’s degree in operations research. He commissioned in the Marines. Kao graduated from Field Artillery Officer Basic School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as a distinguished graduate before joining Battery L, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment in Okinawa, Japan. While training in Japan, Kao directed the firing of over 50 tons of artillery explosives.

Kao promoted to first lieutenant in 1998 when he served with the Kilo Battery 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment in 29 Palms, California. Over the next two years, he served in Okinawa for six months, conducted amphibious exercise at Camp Pendleton and completed artillery firing exercises at the National Training Center. In 2000, Kao served as a captain at Army Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado as the Naval Space Command Liaison Officer. He then deployed to Kuwait, Iraq, for Operation Enduring Freedom as an operations officer for an Army Space Support Team. Kao led combat operations in Baghdad and near Najaf.  He also worked with forces in Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda.

Returning stateside, Kao graduated from the Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico as a distinguished graduate. He served in Hawaii with the 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment where he completed amphibious exercises across the islands. Kao also conducted a seven-month deployment to Okinawa.

In 2006, Kao promoted to major and deployed to Al Asad, Iraq, in 2007. He designed combat operation orders that were given to over 1,000 Marines for operations such as Operation Double Tap, Operation Double Dog and Convoy Operations Standard Operating Procedure.

Kao developed K9 resource allocation software to maximize utilization and worked as an operations analysis in Quantico. In 2012, he went to Kabul, Afghanistan, to lead base and convoy operations.

Once again at Okinawa, Kao conducted training exercises for 8,000 Marines in the Pacific. He was the chief executive officer at Okinawa’s largest base and the director of the Jungle Warfare Training Center, where he led the training of 6,000 service members from all military branches and five different countries.

During his service, Kao received a Bronze Star, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, a Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal and an Army Commendation Medal. After 20 years of service, Kao retired from the Marines in 2016.

He is currently the director of the Center for Naval Analyses Data Science Predictive Analytics Program. He resides in Annandale, Virginia, with his wife Leigh Anne, who he met while stationed in Okinawa, and their two daughters.

Thank you for your service!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.


Writer: Erica MacSweeney

Editor: Katherine Berman, Julia Pack

Fact checker: Kinsley Ballas

Graphic artist: Grace Yang

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Published on May. 25, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.7 min.

Views to date: 143


  1. Isaac P. June 9, 2021 at 4:53 am

    Oorah Major Kao! Semper Fidelis. What an honor to have served under you.

  2. Senior Veterans Care Network June 2, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you for your service Tim Kao.

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