"Fort Sam's Own" Best Warrior

By SGT Katherine Bolcar
323d Army Band

News story photo
Photo credit: SGT Katherine Bolcar
SGT Tukumoeatu and his wife, Sharlene and son, Hyrum in front of the clock tower in the Historic Quadrangle at Fort Sam Houston.
“Our Own” SGT Tonga Tukumoeatu earned the title of U. S. Army North Best Warrior and NCO of the Year in a grueling four-day competition designed to test Soldier readiness and Soldier skills. The competition was held at Joint Base San Antonio Camp Bullis from May 4-7, 2014. The competition included several events such as The Army Physical Fitness Test, rifle marksmanship, an obstacle course, a timed day and night land navigation challenge, Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, an essay on SHARP (the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program), a test on how to conduct the Army’s Physical Readiness Training, and a 12-mile road march culminating with a board. When asked for a comment, SGT Tukumoeatu simply said, “I'm tired.”

SGT “Tuku”, as his fellow Soldiers respectfully call him, is no stranger to competition. His recent accomplishments include winning the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) NCO of the Year Board, where he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Army North NCO of the Month for the month of March.

His sponsor, SFC Joe Peña, said, “I served with ‘Tuku’ at his first duty assignment at Fort Lee and now here at Fort Sam. It has been my pleasure to see him grow from Soldier to NCO. He is the one guy you can always count on no matter what. He is a highly-motivated Soldier who leads from the front, sets an example and is disciplined. Every time I see him, he is always smiling.”

In addition to his outstanding Soldier skills, SGT Tuku is an accomplished musician. He can be seen performing in concerts and ceremonies with “Fort Sam's Own” and playing lead trombone with “Latin Invasion.” He has been known to mentor new soldiers and leads a promotion board preparation class on a regular basis. His dedication to educating his Soldiers and hard work has certainly paid off.

Behind every great Soldier Musician is a great family. SGT Tukumoeatu is a dedicated father and husband. He proudly calls his wife, Sharlene, and his son, Hyrum, his greatest support system. Sharlene said "I'm so proud of my husband and his great accomplishments. I know he put a lot of hard work and discipline into preparing for these competitions but I also know he wouldn't have been able to do it without the faith he has in God and the faith several great military leaders had in him."

SGT Tukumoeatu embodies what it means to be a Soldier Musician and NCO!

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