News | June 6, 2017

JTF-CS Members Observe Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

By U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Roganov Joint Task Force Civil Support

FORT EUSTIS, VA – As we celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, two Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS) team members, Mr. Bryson Tumbaga and Army Col. Eric Oh, shared how their backgrounds guide their efforts in pursuit of mission success.

Tumbaga is an interagency plans analyst in the plans and policy directorate. Oh, who comes to JTF-CS from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), participated in Vibrant Response 17 recently in preparation to take over as the command’s Joint Operations Center director.

Both grew up in Hawaii, yet have non-Hawaiian ethnicity. Oh is of Japanese and Korean descent and Tumbaga’s roots come from the Philippines. Their families emigrated, so both men never experienced their ethnic cultures firsthand and instead were immersed in the melting pot island life of America’s tropical state.

Tumbaga said being exposed to many people with island tourism and various cohabitating cultures lends well to JTF-CS with its joint composition and various perspectives. “It’s easy here to get along and co-exist,” he said.

Oh credits his multicultural experiences in Hawaii as beneficial to his active listening skills, and taught him to observe and seek deeper understanding of a situation instead of trying to be the first to speak up or raise a hand. He also believes that Asian culture, passed down through family, shaped some positive traits, such as being detail oriented, deliberate, and focusing on second and third-order effects.

On a more personal note, both men said being near the ocean is important to them and there is a Hawaiian way of interacting with people.

“Hawaiian culture is focused around love….Aloha.....to be kind to others and treat everybody equally,” said Oh. “Everything revolves around the ocean.” Tumbaga agreed.

“It’s enjoying being on a boat, casting a fishing line with a cold beverage and enjoying the sunshine,” he said. “Kauai is the island I was reared on and where a lot of honeymooners go.”

Both like diversity of the mind as well.

“I grew up in a diverse family with marriages to those who are black, Korean, white….so we are all mixed and interact with a lot of ideas. I wasn’t brought up in a specific race that dominated,” said Tumbaga.

Oh explained that there are many ways to look at diversity; cognitive, ethnic, etc. Each person’s view is shaped by their upbringing and locality and each person has a view on how to solve a problem.

“It’s not just the physical piece on the outside, but the cognitive that counts.”

The views of Tumbaga and Oh highlight how special observances like these teach us about our country’s diversity.

For additional information on JTF-CS, visit us online at: www.jtfcs.northcom.mil or www.facebook.com/jtfcs.