By Mr. Johnathon Orrell (SDDC)July 11, 2019
The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's Surface Warrior Spotlight has set another milestone by shining on Sgt. Khang Pham, the command's first U.S. Army Reservist to be highlighted by the recognition program.
Pham, a transportation management coordinator with the Deployment Support Command's 1186th Deployment Distribution Support Battalion, was nominated by U.S. Army Master Sgt. Lisa Hall, the 1189th Transportation Brigade operations noncommissioned officer in charge.
"I first met Sgt. Pham at the brigade's best warrior competition this year," Hall said. "I knew he had something special that just stuck out and great potential as a Soldier."
"He is certainly selfless in his service and constantly looks for opportunities to help the next Soldier," she added.
Pham joined the reserves in May 2018 after serving on active duty. He says his new unit is what he was looking for and that they are supportive, caring and flexible with his life and career goals. They even supported his attendance at Airborne school, which he graduated from in June.
In addition to being a Soldier, Pham has decided to go back to college to earn his Bachelor's degree in Psychology.
Now it's time to bring Sgt. Pham into the Surface Warrior Spotlight - a program that highlights different members of the SDDC workforce through a series of interview-style questions that focus on his or her unique background, personal stories and experiences.
Q: What is your proudest moment in your current job?
A: I'm still relatively new to the unit, but so far my greatest achievement is the opportunity to represent the unit at the battalion, brigade, division and corps levels of the Best Warrior Competition.
Q: What three things are on your bucket list?
A: Travel to all 50 states, travel to all seven continents and travel to space.
Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you and why would they be perfect to play you?
A: Robert Downey Jr. for sure. Just like Iron Man, he's ambitious, determined, and has a great sense of humor. I think this role allowed him to show his true personality - which I feel is my best version of my inner self.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: Not to be able to live up to my full potential.
Q: What makes you the happiest?
A: I am the happiest when I see other people succeed at what they do.
Q: What is one thing you have always wanted to try and never have?
A: I want to rent a small van for three months and tour the entire country. I just haven't yet because of time and money.
Q: What are your Top Three Life Highlights so far?
A: In November of 2011 I joined the Army and my life has changed forever since this date. There is nothing more rewarding than to be a part of the less than one percent of Americans to serve my country. In April 2019 I achieved runner-up during the 84th Training Command Combined Best Warrior Competition. And third on the list is earning my Associate of Arts degree.
Q: If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: I can eat sushi every day for the rest of my life. Known as food-of-art, this mouth-watering dish is dense in nutrients, easy to eat and elegant in appearance.
Q: If you were an animal what would you be?
A: I would be a wolf. They are known for their loyalty, fearlessness, and patience. They travel in a pack but they're not afraid to be alone. There are many other powerful animals but the wolf does not perform in the circus.
Q: If you could switch your job with anyone else within your command, whose job would you want?
A: I would not want to switch jobs with anyone at the present moment. I really want to enjoy my Army career and along the way continue to develop and grow into an effective leader. I believe when the time is right I will progress in my military career as opportunities present themselves, and I will be better prepared for the new challenges.
Q: How do you define success?
A: I define success by how many people I have helped and been able to influence.
Q: What is the best vacation you've been on?
A: I have traveled to over 18 countries and the majority of them were in Europe. Some were work-related, but most were for leisure. I would rate Venice, Italy as the best because there is great food there. Nothing makes me happier than good food.
Q: What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far, and how did you overcome it?
A: I had a fear of heights for an extended period of my life. I overcame my fear by finding activities that constantly exposed me to heights and to do it over and over again.
Q: What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
A: I witnessed the live broadcast of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy successfully launching and landing back on the landing pad. The future of the human race's expansion beyond the Earth is now more promising than ever.
Q: What book did you read last?
A: I've read many, but my favorite is "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F* - A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life" by Mark Manson. This book helped me find meaning to life with a realistic approach. The key to having a good life is not to care about everything, but rather, care about things that align with character and values. A great quote from the book is "Who you are is defined by what you're willing to struggle for."
Q: What did you want to be when growing up?
A: I've always wanted to be a Soldier. It aligns with my personality and values. The Army gives me a purpose and a reason why I wake-up to do what I do every day. I know this may sound cliché, but I truly knew early on that I wanted a life in the Army.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I like to live an active lifestyle and enjoy my time outdoors such as hiking or exploring new trails. Physical fitness is a big part of my life. It is a great way to relieve stress, connect with nature, and it doesn't cost any money.
Q: What is your favorite line from a movie?
A: Not sure I have a favorite line from the movie, but "Step Brothers" is my favorite movie because it is hilariously funny and I believe laughter is the best medicine in life.
Q: If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?
A: A machete, fire-starter sticks, and a fishing net.
Q: Where is your favorite place to eat, and why is it your favorite?
A: Texas de Brazil is my favorite restaurant because I can eat all different kinds of meat and as much as want.
Q: What would you do (for a career) if you weren't doing your current job?
A: If I was not in the Army, I probably would be either a police officer or firefighter. I can't picture myself doing anything else other than serving the community.
Q: What is your favorite sport to watch, and why do you like to watch it?
A: Although I don't know how to play the sport, I enjoy watching hockey for its fast-paced and nonstop action.
Q: What is your life motto or personal mantra?
A: "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you." -- Unknown. Regardless of our titles or social status, we are first and foremost human beings.
Q: What is your least favorite food?
A: None. I appreciate all kinds of food. I believe I'm truly the definition of a foodie.
Q: If you could do any other job for just one day, what would it be?
A: I would want to be the POTUS, yes the President of the United States…for 'one' day.
Q: How would you describe your personality?
A: I'm an introvert as well as an extrovert. I love to be around people but would just as much enjoy time to myself.
Q: Where would you like to go on a dream vacation, and why would you go there?
A: With the advancement of our technology, we've become so disconnected in a connected world. My dream vacation is to live in the mountains, deep in the forest, or somewhere where technology does not exist for an extended amount of time with my loved ones.
Q: What is the one thing you cannot resist?
A: I can't resist helping other people every chance I get. If I am capable of helping, I will do it.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I'm goofy and like to joke around, but I believe there is a time and place for everything.
Q: Are you messy or organized?
A: I'm detail-oriented and organized. I work more efficiently when everything is clean and things are where they're supposed to be.
That's all for Pham's time in the spotlight, but you can check out his Surface Warrior Spotlight video on SDDC's YouTube page at https://youtu.be/vowR2nXsTeQ