SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Weng Ong, a native of Santa Clara, California, had a loose understanding of what he wanted to do with his life upon graduating high school. With his parents leaving it up to him to pay for his own education, he turned to enlisting in the Army. Now a sergeant, Ong has found his calling: embodying the warrior sprit, and above all being a leader.
"No materialistic satisfaction can match the feeling of making a positive impact in someone else's life," said Ong. "After realizing this concept, I also understood that in order to have a greater influence on others, I must continue to develop myself."
Joining the Army in 2012, Ong began his journey as an Army paralegal specialist in the 45th Sustainment Brigade, based on Oahu. As a young Soldier in the 45th, he learned the basics needed to become proficient in his field, and deployed with his unit in 2014 for a seven-month tour in Afghanistan.
Following the deployment, his unit transitioned to the 25th Infantry Division, rebranding as the 25th Sustainment Brigade in July 2015. Shortly after joining the 25th, Ong competed in his first Paralegal of the Year competition, beating every other paralegal in the division. The competition consisted of many physical and mental tests, challenging competitor's skills as a warrior and paralegal.
"Having a true passion in what you do is one of the greatest factors to driving your success in any type of goal," said Ong. "A clear understanding of what drives your passion, paired with hard work and commitment, will equate to determining the type of actions you take towards achieving your goals."
Coupled with his outstanding performance in daily duties, winning the Paralegal of the Year contributed to Ong being promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2016. His fast rise through the enlisted ranks had impressed many leaders within the 25th Sust. Bde., in particular his officer in charge.
"Sgt. Ong is a Soldier capable of doing or being whatever he sets his mind to within the Army," said Maj. Sarah Brennan, the 25th Sust. Bde. judge advocate. "He has the highest level of discipline and motivation, and is growing into a thoughtful mentor for junior Soldiers."
With his career falling into place, and having proven his excellence in his field, Ong began to set his sights on pushing himself to become a commissioned officer. To do this he decided his best course of action would be to apply for the Army Green to Gold Program.
The Green to Gold Program is designed to select outstanding enlisted Soldiers who want to complete a four-year college degree and commission as an officer in the Army. Of more than 12,400 Soldiers in the 25th Infantry Division, Ong was one of the few who were awarded a scholarship from the green to gold program in 2017.
"This year, I was fortunate enough to receive a Green to Gold ROTC hip pocket scholarship in order go back to school and complete my degree in Kinesiology," said Ong. "The plan is to graduate by 2021 and commission as an infantry officer. From there, I will either continue to pursue a Doctorate degree through the Army's physical therapy program, or attempt to become an special forces officer."
Being accepted into the Green to Gold program did not halt Ong's motivation as a noncommissioned officer. To continue his drive for greatness he went on to compete in the 2017 U.S. Army Pacific Paralegal of the Year competition. Competitors came from all over the Pacific region to compete, but Ong once again showed his tactical and technical excellence. After a week of grueling competitions Ong was named the U.S. Army Pacific Paralegal of the Year.
"Sgt. Ong is amazing," said Brennan. "He is a hard charging professional who can do anything to which he sets his mind, and is the essence of the fire in the NCO corps. Not only does he complete his tasks, but takes it one step further."
Ong has done many great things as a noncommissioned officer and will continue to pave the way for leaders in the Army long after his transition into the officer ranks.
"Having a true passion in what you do is one of the greatest factors to driving your success in any type of goal," said Ong. "Slowly, but surely every day becomes a little bit clearer. Every day becomes an opportunity in order to be one step closer."