Face of Defense: Soldier Brings Family Values to Workplace
By Army Sgt. Tanjie Patterson
3rd Sustainment Brigade
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, June 3, 2013 Five years ago, Army 1st Lt. Samuel Oh wouldn’t have expected he’d be in uniform today. Then a 23-year-old junior at Auburn University, he thought he was on his way to working in the health care profession in civilian life.
Army 1st Lt. Samuel Oh says the best part about his job as a strength management officer for the 3rd Sustainment Brigade at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, is that he gets to help soldiers on a daily basis and build personal relationships. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tanjie Patterson
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“My parents wanted me to be a pharmacist, and I thought that was what I wanted until I realized during my senior year that I wasn’t happy with the idea, because I no longer had the passion for it,” Oh said.
Oh, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science, said he approached his parents shortly after graduation with a proposal to change his career choice.
“They weren’t happy with my decision and told me that if I didn’t figure out what I was going to do, then I had to join the Army,” he said. “It was at that time when a little ‘light bulb’ went off in my head, and I said to myself that, ‘Yes, the Army isn’t a bad idea.’”
Oh said he went to the recruiting station in Huntsville, Ala., the next day just to get information about the military, but ended up actually joining the Army during his visit.
He said he initially wanted to join the Army as an enlisted soldier because he felt that he could get more experience that way.
“But my recruiter told me that I should join as an officer, because I already had a degree,” Oh said.
A few months later, Oh left for basic combat training at Fort Benning, Ga., and then moved to Fort Jackson, S.C., for Officer Candidate School. It was during OCS where Oh picked his career field.
“Originally, I thought I was going to be an engineer or a field artillery officer, but when it was time for me to pick a branch I asked myself, ‘What is the best branch for me to help out soldiers?’ So, with that thought in mind, I ended up picking the adjutant general branch,” he said.
Now, as a strength management officer, Oh is responsible for all force structure, manpower, personnel and administration requirements here for the 3rd Sustainment Brigade. Oh’s responsibilities include tracking incoming and outgoing soldiers, as well as assisting the brigade commander in the placement of inbound soldiers. Oh also manages awards, along with officer and noncommissioned officer evaluations.
Oh said he loves his job because it allows him to work closely with soldiers and form strong bonds and personal relationships, a quality he holds very close to his heart.
“Growing up, my parents taught me that having a good work ethic and great personal relationships is the key to success,” he said.
Oh, who was born in Busan, South Korea, said that his parents always wanted the best for him and his sister. Oh’s family moved to the United States when he was 10 years old.
“My parents worked hard so they could provide us with more than they had, so they moved us to the States so that we would have better opportunities,” he said.
Oh added that he tries to instill into his soldiers the same values he learned from his parents.
“The main thing I try to do is encourage personal relationships as much as possible, because with our job we have to interact with other soldiers on a daily basis, and what we do impacts their careers,” he said.
Oh said that he hopes one day to become a battalion personnel officer in charge and continue to help soldiers.