The FAPAC Uniformed Services Awards recognize and honor members of the Uniformed Services which include the armed forces, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the commissioned corps of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.
The award is presented during the FAPAC National Leadership Training Program (NLTP). The NLTP is held each year in the month of May to coincide with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Performance Period: 2020 Fiscal Year (Oct 1, 2019 to Sept 30, 2020) or Calendar Year (Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2020)
Congratulations to the 2020 Uniformed Services Award Winners
Lieutenant Lu Wang, U.S. Navy
As training officer for a medical/dental clinic, LT Wang organized and conducted over 20 trainings, totaling over 50 hours, for 25 staff members in areas such as suicide awareness, financial literacy, sexual harassment, and equal opportunity. As the guest speaker for the Asian and Pacific American Heritage Event in May 2019, she shared her experience growing up as an Asian American and how it influenced her to join the U.S. Navy. She is a regular volunteer with Serving Seniors, a charity and community center dedicated to feeding, housing, and providing necessary services for low income senior citizens. She is a valuable member of the community and stellar ambassador for the U.S Navy wherever she goes.
MSgt Travis Bulay, U.S. Air Force
Master Sergeant Bulay partnered with the Equal Opportunity Office to develop an unconscious bias course designed specifically for senior leaders to view how their actions were perceived by others from different socio-economic backgrounds and challenged them to foster a climate that embraced diversity. The pilot class hosted 19 officers and senior enlisted leaders and improved workplace cohesion through the unit. He led a team of 80 Senior Noncommissioned officers in concert with the USO to give back to junior enlisted service members, resulting in 205 Thanksgiving meal baskets. He also inspected 136 housing units for mold or disease carrying vermin and pests. Sergeant Bulay pinpointed five hazards throughout the homes and worked with the servicing agencies to eliminate the danger and secure safe living conditions for all. As the committee lead for the base Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Sports day, his diverse team created an event to raise awareness of sexual assaults. Over 200 participants attended the event and it raised awareness and advocated for prevention to eliminate assaults.
Master Sergeant Timothy Tanbonliong, U.S. Air Force
MSgt Tanbonliong created opportunities that support and contribute to the mentorship, development, advancement of all personnel, consisting of Uniformed Services, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and women and minorities in government service. Sergeant Tanbonliong led training and professional and skill development for approximately 2,500 Air Force intelligence professionals; advocated for training resources, manpower, and systems to increase the lethality of the force—with resources totaling to $44 million to-date; provided the first-ever tactical unmanned aerial vehicle training course to Philippine joint Special Forces; and is an active volunteer who leads base and community events with enduring impacts; local Air Force Association and Boy Scouts of America.
Staff Sergeant Michael Jolls, U.S. Air Force
SSgt Jolls was the primary coordination liaison between 210 staff members, 460 military students, and five joint-service units. He supervised language instruction, mentoring students through difficult language and culture training, and instilling a love of Asian cultures. He facilitated five Chinese culture clubs, providing enjoyable cultural immersion for 100 students. He befriended local restaurant owners to establish informal opportunities for students to practice speaking in Chinese, and improved military-civilian relationships. He organized 110 volunteers for a language showcase, managed personnel for a base-wide event attended by over 2,000 local civilians, and demonstrated authentic Asian and Middle-Eastern cultural celebrations. He recruited 140 Asian language instructors and students to compete in a state-wide speech exhibition, in which participants wrote and presented speeches in the Chinese language. Entrants he prepared won 48 awards, including nine first-place wins for their categories. SSgt Jolls planned two culture immersions, managing a $180,000 budget, and preparing 16 students to visit Taiwan for intensive four-week language training classes. He planned 13 graduation ceremonies for 446 joint-service military students, served as master of ceremonies for three of them, and showcased the graduates’ mastery of the Mandarin Chinese language for over 1,500 attendees.
Technical Sergeant Sarahlizamarie D. Pante-Berrios, U.S. Air Force
TSgt Pante-Berrios oversaw academic records for over 1,000 students, ensuring an objective application of standards and equal opportunities for advancement and successful course completion for both technical and craftsman level students. She displayed exceptional character as a role model and mentor by briefing and preparing over 350 Basic Military Training Airmen and over 150 first term Airmen for the operational Air Force. Specifically, she explained how to promote a healthy organizational environment for all members of the Department of Defense, promoted advancement opportunities for personal and professional growth, and expertly explained how to identify and resolve problems by making proper decisions and overcoming discrimination by eliminating barriers that hinder equal opportunity. TSgt Pante-Berrios coordinated, organized, and hosted two events in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, uniting Uniformed Services teams across the globe. She was one of 450 volunteers supporting the Department of Defense Moms Fit-2-Fight Program, a behavioral weight management program executed by the University of Tennessee that aims to help Tricare beneficiaries who are pregnant or postpartum to manage their weight during and after their pregnancy.
Lieutenant John R. Santorum, U.S. Coast Guard
LT Santorum has passionately served as President of the FAPAC–USCG Chapter, a designated non-profit 501c3 tax exempt organization, for nearly 2 years. This position demands a massive amount of time and absolute dedication to oversee and manage, made possible through close coordination with his Executive Leadership Team and senior leadership guidance from the organization’s Executive Champion. With his team’s full support and individual contributions, he steadfastly guided them in updating the chapter’s strategic goals and value proposition to not only reflect current initiatives and efforts but also focus on the organization’s goal to provide more training and professional development opportunities for all members. LT Santorum also increased membership by over 160 people and overall member participation increased through creative outreach events and training opportunities Coast Guard wide. This resulted in an additional $2,000 raised through member fees, donations, and fundraising, all of which helped fund the organization’s first $500 FAPAC-USCG scholarship made available to dependents of FAPAC-USCG members. The “Lunch with Leaders” initiative created by LT Santorum facilitated mentoring sessions between junior members and senior Coast Guard leaders.
Lieutenant Commander Rhianna Macon, U.S. Coast Guard
As an avid member of Coast Guard Academy Minority Outreach Team (AMOT), LCDR Macon completed the Coast Guard Academy (CGA) Partners on-site training in New London, CT and consistently volunteered her time to serve as a link between the CGA admission team and prospective Asian American applicants. The CGA admission staff routinely contacted her to speak with apprehensive recruits and parents, providing a personal touch to the Academy’s recruiting efforts. LCDR Macon played a vital role in furthering the Academy’s strategic goal of cultivating an inclusive environment by serving as one of the AMOT-Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) assistant coordinators. She achieved historic milestones in this role and made CGA history for the highest number of Asian American Academy graduates ever. The CGA Class of 2019 graduated 34 AAPI officers, who now serve with distinction in the fleet. She also directly impacted the freshman class of 2023 which is comprised of the highest ever number AAPI cadets (15% of the incoming class). The entire student body is at a record 16% Asian Americans--the highest in its 144 year history.
Chief Petty Officer Jacinto A. Sabangan, U.S. Coast Guard
CPO Sabangan currently serves as the Air Station Kodiak Night Shift Maintenance Supervisor, where he directly oversees flight critical maintenance, servicing, and movements of six Sikorsky MH-60T helicopters. He led a shift of over 20 enlisted personnel in maintaining airworthy helicopters that provide continuous Search and Rescue coverage for the entire state of Alaska, resulting in 141 lives saved or assisted in 2019. As the Heavy Maintenance Team Supervisor, his team completed 80,000 hours of maintenance, and his dynamic leadership accelerated maintenance completion timelines by an impressive 31%, resulting in a 93 percent overall dispatch success rate. His ability to integrate and shape this multi-dimensional workforce into a highly successful team became a major benchmark for future surge-operations support strategies; ultimately garnering enterprise-wide support and future resourcing. In an effort to help junior petty officers advance, he organized a Service-Wide Examination study group, which helped over 60 members achieve professional development milestones and work toward advancement to the next higher rank. CPO Sabangan’s forward thinking helped increase training efficiencies by 75% and produced 35 newly qualified aircrew.
Captain Sally Hu, U.S. Public Health Service
CAPT Sally Hu is the Director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) Technology Transfer (T2) Office at the Department of Defense (DoD). In this role, she is responsible for formulating, directing, and executing the overall DHA T2 strategy. CAPT Hu was the DHA “Liaison” for the DoD T2 community to the 2019 Military Invention Day at the Smithsonian Museum. She also served as a judge for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) annual APL Achievement Awards for health associated innovations/ inventions. Prior to her present position, CAPT Hu served as the Director of the DHA Small Business Science and Technology office by leading the DHA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research Programs to stimulate high-tech innovations while meeting special research/developmental needs to support the oversight and management of a $1.7 billion/year budget.