Feature   Observances

Navy Corpsman Is Aspiring Olympic Wrestler

May 3, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have helped shape the history of the United States, and many of their lives have been dramatically influenced by moments in U.S. history. Every May, the Defense Department joins the rest of the nation in celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bobby Raines, a corpsman, said the recognition of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders this month is special for him; he was born in Yokohama, Japan, and his mother was also born in Japan.

A young man in a military uniform stands between his parents and smiles for a photo.
Family Pose
Bobby Raines, center, smiles after graduating from basic training at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., in 2013. With him are his father, Robert Raines, and mother, Miyako Raines.
Photo By: Navy
VIRIN: 130416-O-ZZ999-001

"I take great pride in being a Japanese American in the military. Since I was 17, I knew I wanted to join the military," he said, noting that his father is now retired from the Navy and greatly influenced his enlistment in the Navy.

Initially, Raines said he wanted to be a naval officer, but he decided to enlist and possibly become an officer later on. After graduating from basic training at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, he went to school at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, where he learned the skills to become a corpsman.

From 2014 to 2016, he was at Naval Branch Health Clinic Port Hueneme in California.

A wrestler holds another wrestler down on a mat.
Wrestling Hold
Bobby Raines, an All-Navy Wrestling team member, pins Teron Woodson in 2020.
Photo By: Navy
VIRIN: 200416-O-ZZ999-001

The highlight of his Navy service, he said, was being stationed at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka in Japan. "Many times, I felt like the perfect bridge between the U.S. Navy and the Japanese nationals when we had joint activities," he said.

From 2018 to 2021, Raines was stationed at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California; he currently has orders to go to 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Raines is also on the All-Navy Wrestling team. He said he hopes to go to the Olympics and bring home a gold medal for the United States.

Two wrestlers compete on a mat.
Wrestling Match
Bobby Raines, an All-Navy Wrestling team member, practices against Ryan Schmehr, right, in 2015 in Bremerton, Wash.
Photo By: Navy
VIRIN: 150416-O-ZZ999-002

Wrestling has helped mold his character, Raines said. "In high school, it gave me the confidence that I've carried with me since. That confidence has helped me to take on leadership roles and meet new challenges."

Wrestling practice is brutal, he said, saying everything in life seems easy by comparison.

Since joining the team in 2015, he said he's won third place at the 2014 Midwest Nationals and second place in international tournaments, including the 2016 and 2017 Tokyo tournaments.

Besides wrestling, Raines said he's pursuing a degree in accounting.