FORT DETRICK, Md. -- Throughout his U.S. Army career, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jesus C. Tulud earned a reputation of being a quick study and a problem solver.
He’s also one of the Army’s strongest supporters of the medical logistics and maintenance communities, always looking for ways to improve processes and readiness to benefit Soldiers.
Quickly learning of logistical challenges in his early enlisted days in the 1990s, Tulud made it his mission over his 33-year career to find ways to make it easier to provide and receive top-quality health care.
“That medical provider cannot do their job without us,” he said. “MEDLOG is the lifeline to the medical field. They can’t do it without the supplies and equipment.”
On April 15, Tulud’s colleagues from past and present honored the longtime pillar of the medical maintenance community during a retirement ceremony at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Fort Detrick is the last of many duty stations for Tulud, who most recently has served as command chief warrant officer at Army Medical Logistics Command and director of AMLC’s Medical Maintenance Policies and Analysis directorate, or M2PA, since the command’s formation in 2019.
Tulud took time to recognize the people who helped him along the way, but AMLC Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Lalor emphasized the “huge and lasting” impact Tulud had on medical logistics and the Army as a whole.
“This is a tough day for our Army here,” Lalor said. “While it’s a celebration, today we return a Soldier who has supported this Army for nearly 33 years. That’s a whole lot of experience, wisdom and he’s one of my closest advisers in this job.”
‘A military-grown family’
Born in the Philippines the youngest of 10 children, Tulud and his family came to the U.S. in 1977. He lived in Salinas, California, before joining the Army 11 years later -- with the blessing of his mother -- just before his 18th birthday in 1988.
The decision to serve was an easy one, both to follow in the footsteps of family members before him and to further his education.
“I come from a military background,” he said. “My grandfather was a POW. I’ve got two uncles; one was in the Navy, the other in the Army. My brother was in the Army 20-plus years. … We’re a military-grown family.”
After completing his initial training in medical maintenance, Tulud began his college coursework and ran track. Shortly thereafter, however, Operation Desert Storm kicked off and he felt compelled to join the fight in the early 1990s.
“I was here running track … and I was like, ‘I can’t do this,’” he recalled, especially knowing his brother was overseas on active duty. “How can you go to college when your country is at war?”
In 1991, Tulud joined the active-duty ranks, starting a journey that included assignments all across the country and abroad, including three tours in Korea and deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Especially during those deployments, Tulud learned about the challenges Soldiers face in the medical logistics field, and it drove him to want to improve the system.
It also called for him to learn other disciplines, such as medical supply, which was complex and often handled differently than other commodities. Tulud made it his mission to improve those processes.
“The way I gear the way we do business today is I remember how we did it there,” he said. “… You would do all you can to get medical supply to you. I never want to see that again.”
A subject-matter expert
In 2002, Tulud joined the ranks of Army warrant officers, highly specialized subject-matter experts. Upon graduation, he served as the S-4/unit maintenance officer for the 31st Combat Support Hospital out of Fort Bliss, Texas.
He credits his wife, Chae, and one of his former warrant officers for convincing him to take the initiative to apply.
“At the time, I didn’t think I was warrant officer material,” Tulud said. “And here I am now … 19 years later.”
Tulud looked back on his class of warrants that were commissioned that year, with several rising to the top rank for a warrant officer just like him. One of them, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Wendell Johnson, joined Tulud at his retirement ceremony.
“Most folks didn’t know we were actual brothers,” joked Johnson, who currently serves as 670A consultant for the Army Office of the Surgeon General.
Johnson said Tulud taught him what it means to be professional, specifically in avoiding disagreement with colleagues in public and getting your point across in private.
“Most folks don’t realize what we’re losing in (Tulud),” he said. “Many called him a grumpy old man … but he had their best interests at heart. … Many of us are successful because of him.”
Along the way to his promotion to chief warrant officer five in 2018, Tulud gained extensive knowledge across the Army medical logistics, supply, equipment management and maintenance fields that set him up for success in his most recent roles at Fort Detrick.
His advice to other young enlisted Soldiers considering warrant school? Start early, seek leadership roles and educational opportunities, and don’t be afraid of constructive criticism.
“Go talk to a warrant officer. Find a mentor,” he said. “It can’t be your best friend.”
‘Big boots to fill’
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joshua Barto, chief of publications for M2PA, said Tulud leaves “big boots to fill” for the command, as well as the Army-wide medical maintenance enterprise.
“Without his leadership, I believe that there would not have been as much focus and attention placed on medical device sustainment,” Barto said.
Tulud’s leadership has moved the needle in AMLC’s establishment of Life Cycle Management Command and Integrated Logistics Support Center roles, enabling the command and M2PA teams to “identify, communicate and get after many of the issues that have plagued medical materiel throughout the Army,” Barto added.
“Mr. Tulud, for as long as I and many others have known him, has always been an advocate for improving operational efficacy of medical maintenance within the Army,” he said. “His plans and actions were always in support of improving the way we do medical maintenance and medical logistical business, bringing attention to or closing medical maintenance gaps.”
Not only did Tulud bring substantial knowledge, expertise and leadership to the medical maintenance enterprise, but he led the way in training and mentoring future leaders, Lalor said.
“It’s not just with your job or any actions on the battlefield, but you trained the next generation of leaders, of Soldiers,” he said. “You stepped up and taught Soldiers how to wear their uniform properly, how to hit the target, how to train, how to never quit.”
While he will be missed, Tulud said the feeling is mutual, thanking all his mentors, battle buddies and team members along the way.
“You don’t really miss things until you’re without it,” he said. “I will miss all the great friends I’m in contact with every day at work. I don’t tell anyone they work for me. I work with them. I try to keep that.”
While Tulud considers his colleagues to be extended family, he said he looks forward to spending more time with his immediate family in retirement, as well his favorite past time -- golf.
“There’s not much I would change,” he said. “I love what I do.”