News: ‘Provider’ soldier incorporates family values in the workplace
Story by Sgt. Tanjie Patterson
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — If you would’ve asked 1st Lt. Samuel Oh five years ago what his future would hold, he would’ve never foreseen service in the U.S. Army. The then 23-year-old junior at Auburn University thought he was on his way to fulfilling a healthcare profession.
“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,” said Oh.
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 U.S. military, but ended up actually joining the Army during his visit.
“I wanted to join as enlisted because I felt that I could get more experience as a soldier, but my recruiter told me that I should join as an officer because I already had a degree,” he 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, a strength management officer, Oh is responsible for all force structure, manpower, personnel and administration requirements for the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, which includes 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 Pusan, South Korea, said that his parents always wanted the best for him and his sister and moved to the U.S. when Oh 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 those same values his parents preached into his soldiers.
“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 wants to one day become a battalion personnel officer in charge and continue to help soldiers.