From Samoa to a life in the U.S. Army — CSM Tobin to lead 8thTSC at Fort Shafter
Honolulu, HAWAI'I — After two plus years in Afghanistan, 15 months in Iraq and nearly three decades in the U.S. Army, Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Tobin heads to the U.S. Pacific Command – in Hawai'i, next spring – to become Command Sergeant Major of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) at Fort Shafter.
The TSC is the senior Army logistics command for the U.S. Pacific Command, and serving as the chief administrative officer there is a huge responsibility as military focus shifts from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific region. Fort Shafter is headquarters for the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) for U.S. Army Forces in the Asia and Pacific Basin.
“I'm humbled, honored and excited to have the opportunity to go back to the Asia Pacific region,” Tobin said via telephone from Afghanistan. “It's an honor and a privilege to do what I'm doing. I love what I do. I'm just honored.”
The Pacific Command’s area of responsibility spans half the Earth's surface, stretching from the waters off the west coast U.S. to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole, according to pacom.mil, the Pacific Commands website. In a mid-November e-mail, Sgt. Maj. Todd A. Moore with the Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army congratulated Tobin on his selection to the command.
Born in Honolulu but raised in Lotopa village, independent Samoa, Tobin is convinced his upbringing and culture equipped him with the stuff it takes to lead, fight and win in the U.S. Army.
Assignments have taken him all over the states and the world – the Middle East, to South Korea and Germany.
“The most valuable thing I carry with me is the beauty of our culture,” CSM Tobin said. “It doesn't matter where I go – we've got the most beautiful culture in the world... because of its closeness.”
“The best part of my job is that I'm taking care of the troops... taking care of the health and well-being of our troops,” Tobin said. “The most challenging part of my job is not having the opportunity to say to our troops: thank you… to tell the troops thank you for your service and for what you do – not being able to do that – that's the most challenging part of my job.”
“What I always carry in my heart are the nine fallen soldiers I lost in Afghanistan,” Tobin said. “I always carry their pictures with me. They will never be forgotten. It's what comes with the duties and responsibilities.”
He told Samoa News he gets his work ethic from his hard-working mother, the late Barbara Mugele Tobin. She's laid to rest in Lotopa next to his late father Michael David Tobin.
“I get it from my mom,” Tobin said. “I always refer to my mom. I remember her getting up at 4 a.m... to make us lunch... and she worked really hard. Unfortunately, she is not alive to see it but she knows I’m doing well. I'm profoundly grateful to be part of a great family. Mom has taught us well and I'm who I am because of her sacrifice.”
“I am always reminded by my culture and upbringing...it is very unique... it doesn't matter where in the world you go but you always remember to treat people with dignity and respect. To have respect, even in the military, for your elders. I will always remember where I came from. ”
Tobin's sister Hazel Jackson recalls that “Charlie” was a skinny little lad from Lotopa who used to run around with no shoes and “thought he was so cool riding through Apia on his bicycle that came all the way from New Zealand.”
“Little did we know he would grow up to be this special and amazing brother who has achieved so much in life through hard work and his drive to achieve,” Jackson wrote in an e-mail. “[W]e are so very proud of him. We come from a family of achievers and we are blessed to have the Lord in our lives. Regardless of his position and all that he has achieved in life, he still has love and respect for his older siblings and the younger ones. He loves his children unconditionally. It's just so unfortunate that our mother is not here to witness the fruits of her labour.”
CSM Tobin is a proud father of two. His 21-year-old son Charles Michael Tobin, Jr., has been accepted to the Aviation Branch at West Point Military Academy at Fort Rucker, Ala. His flight attendant daughter Kayla Rebecca Tobin-Dwyer, 26, is married to Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer. Tobin loves Steelers' No. 27 like a son – but he remains a faithful San Francisco 49ers fan.
Tobin says his children and family have been his greatest support in his career. Family members plan to meet in Hawai'i for his change of responsibility ceremony next spring.
Tobin has a unique and very diversified background; serving at the strategic, operational and tactical level, reserve side, in special operations, in combatant command and at the institutional level. Before Afghanistan he spent 15 months in Iraq.
Now in Afghanistan, he serves as CSM of the 1st TSC based in Fort Bragg, N.C. Right next to him is his executive assistant, Staff Sgt. Paulo J. Momosea, Jr. Six candidates were up for the executive assistant position, says Tobin, but it was Momosea's experience that set him apart from the group.
Tobin is responsible for 24,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. During this assignment he was tasked with the retrograde of equipment out of Afghanistan – while sustaining the fight with the enemy.
He graduated from St. Joseph's in Alafua and joined the Army in 1983, taking just one year off between then and 2013. He's served in every non-commissioned officer leadership position from squad leader to CSM. Among his lengthy list of awards are: the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Medal, Jumpmaster Badge and Air Assault Badge. He's also the recipient of the Distinguished Order of Saint Martin for the Quartermaster Regiment.
“It's an honor and a privilege to do what I'm doing...I believe these are blessings from my parents. I have two wonderful kids, I have the compassion and support of my kids, and I'm very proud that my son has been accepted into helicopter school at West Point,” he said happily from Afghanistan. “I got no complaints. This has been a great ride. I'm serving in the greatest army, in the greatest nation – in the world.”
Tautalatala.com and Samoa News extend our congratulations to CSM Tobin and send all our troops a big THANK YOU and warm greetings for a very Merry Christmas!
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