[BHS1966maui email and telephone interviews with M/M Tomas Tabisola]
Tomas Tabisola General Dynamics IT, Training Specialist
CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE ===============
Puunene Elementary School 1963
(Tomas is in 1st row, 2nd from left)
Tomas was born and raised in Camp 4, Puunene and graduated from Puunene Elementary School. He fondly remembers being Mrs. Marciel's teacher's pet and not really knowing about it. And who can forget our huge back yard swing that took you from one side of the Camp 4 ditch to the other?
Tomas Tabisola, BHS Class of 1966
One week in the Fields of Maui Pine
Tomas spent that immediate summer of 1966 working for one week only in the fields for Maui Pine then worked in the Iao Valley restaurant the rest of the summer.
Draft notice in Jan '71
After that he attended UH at Manoa Sep 66 thru Dec 70. Tomas had alrready registered for the 71 spring semester when he received his draft notice in Jan 71, claiming he was taking too long to get a 4-year degree. Truth was, he was hanging on dearly to that school deferment. To his dismay, the Army did pay attention to such things.
...dropped out of college and did a lot of partying, fishing, and other things...
Tomas enlisted to get into a non-combat specialty which would reduce him being assigned to Viet Nam. As things happened, he enlisted into the Army 29Jan71 under the Delayed Entry Program which gave him four months into which he had hoped would allow him to graduate. That didn't happen. Tomas dropped out of college and did a lot of partying, fishing, and other things he thought he would miss after leaving the islands to become a soldier.
AIT (Advanced Individual Training)
That started after those four months when he went to Army BCT (Basic Combat Training) 28 May 71 at Ft Ord, CA (Tomas still remember how cold he felt in San Franciscos's 52 degrees after just coming from Honolulu -- that was only his second time in his life to leave HI!); AIT (Advanced Individual Training) after that at Ft Lee, VA.
Staff Sargent E6
Tomas’s first actual assignment was back to Hawaii for almost four years at Camp HM Smith on Oahu, a Marine base that is the Headquarters, CINCPAC (Commander-in-Chief Pacific), a joint command with representation from all services.He progressed through the enlisted ranks relatively quickly. By the time he left his Hawaii assignment, he was a SSG (Staff Sergeant, E-6) with less than five years in the Army.
Chief Warrant Officer Two
Tomas’s next assignment was to Panama for three years with a 6-month stint at the Defense Language Institute en route first, to learn Spanish. While in Panama (complete immersion into a Spanish environment and culture is the best way to learn its language), Tomas was on the promotion list to SFC (Sergeant First Class, E-7), but opted to become a Warrant Officer when it was offered to him. His first assignment as a WO1 (Warrant Officer One) was to Ft Lewis, WA from May 79 to Aug 82. After almost two years at Ft Lewis, he was promoted to CW2 (Chief Warrant Officer Two).
The enigmatic Auroroa Borealis or Northern Lights of Alaska
His next assignment was north to Alaska, more specifically to Ft Wainwright that was adjacent to Fairbanks. He fell in love with Alaska and everything about that state, including its fiercely frigid climate. After being there for the normal overseas tour
(About 30 month average; the Army treats Alaska and Hawaii as overseas) and wanting to stay in Alaska for an extended period (believe it or not, there are hundreds of folks from Hawaii in Alaska), he applied for and was selected to attend college under the Army's Fully Funded Program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
College student with full pay and benefits
For 18 months Tomas was a college student with full pay and benefits, almost totally a civilian during that year and a half -- dressing as such while still living in the BOQ (Bachelor Officer's Quarters) at Ft Wainwright. It was like receiving full scholarship and then much more. Tomas was promoted to CW3 (Chief Warrant Officer Three) while a student. He completed his baccalaureate requirements in Dec 85 and formally received his BS in Computer Science with the graduating class of May 86.
The office and desk of the DPBO
Tomas had already been to his next assignment in Ft Lee, VA for four months by then. After three years in VA, he asked for and received his next assignment back to AK, this time to Ft Richardson adjacent to Anchorage, with a much milder climate than that of Ft Wainwright and Fairbanks. Tomas served as the 6th Infantry Light Division's PBO (Property Book Officer) from May 89 to Dec 92 and was promoted to the next higher grade of CW4 (Chief Warrant Officer Four) during that period.
Ruined his right knee and found out he had bone cancer
His next assignment was also as a DPBO but this time at Ft Ord, CA for the 7th Infantry Light Division. This would be his last active duty assignment. With all the daily running he did in his "light" units' assignments (Light units means they don't have motorized equipment to transport themselves, as opposed to mechanized units which will have tracked or wheeled vehicles for mobilization), he ruined his right knee such that he had to have it replaced. And unfortunately, it wasn't one of those bionic ones. Back then, the option of remaining on active duty in the Army with a disability was very uncommon.
Tomas was medically retired in Jul 95 out of Ft Lewis, WA where he was sent to from Ft Ord which was closed down during his tenure there.
Relocating to Pacific Northwest
Upon his retirement, Tomas took a three year hiatus, fishing, traveling to Alaska and the east coast and finally relocating to the Pacific Northwest, western Washington, arguably the best place to live in the USA.
After that long break of leisure, he started to get bored and by some odd coincidence, received a call from a fellow warrant officer who was still on active duty. His wife was just hired on as the head of Software Testing by a company that did contract work for the Army. After being hired, he moved to the Washington DC area and started as a Test Engineer for GRCI that had, at that time, recently won a multi-million dollar contract to develop software that would automate logistics jobs for the soldiers. Unfortunately, after three years the company was failing to deliver products, partial and otherwise, by its contracted dates. It certainly wasn't Testing's fault as its job was relatively towards the end of the development phases. GRCI was bought out by AT&T and then finally lost the contract for failing to deliver anything by the promised date. Within a few weeks, he was contacted by General Dynamics, the company that assumed the contract, and offered several positions.
Wanting to leave the DC area, he opted for a trainer position that would bring him back to the Western Washington area, Ft Lewis to be specific. His job was teaching automated logistics to active and reserve soldiers, something he enjoyed doing. Although he traveled a lot throughout the USA including Hawaii and Alaska, and to Kuwait and Iraq, the hours, salary, and benefits were hard to beat. During the time that he wasn't teaching which was about 50% of the time, he remained at home. He was allowed to travel within the state of WA with the only requirement being that he had his cell phone close at hand. This was a dream job for him since he could fish WA's rivers, lakes, and Puget Sound during his time off and without having to use up any vacation time.
Unfortunately, the five year contract ended recently and so did that job. After not being rehired and the Unemployment Insurance checks stopped coming, he decided to retire permanently. He spends a lot of time traveling, doing things on the computer, chores around the house, and of course fishing or planning on fishing.
Catch and release
Tomas's passion is fishing. He will go fishing every chance he can. Rumors have it that he learned to fish in the sugar cane irrigation ditches in Puunene.
Click on the picture to enlarge the fish?
Family picture [circa 2008 New Year's]
L-R: Nancy, Tomas, Kanoelani (granddaughter-4), Christie, Krisjon, Keola (grandson-8)
><))))}:>Tomas's Philosophy <:}))))><
...of all the liars among mankind, the fisherman is the most trustworthy. [William Sherwood Fox, Silken Lines and Silver Hooks, 1954]
He’d certainly like to hear from the rest of you and hopefully get to see you at the next reunion