By Tech. Sgt. Maria A. Ruiz
Staff Sgt. Moses Tum, customer service representative, 184th Comptroller Flight, was selected as one of three Air National Guard members highlighted in the DoD National African-American History Month.
“I was really excited and surprised to be recognized,” said Tum. “It is a special honor to be part of the one percent that serves in the U.S. military.”
The profiles of the Airmen listed family background, military career responsibilities, hardships and accomplishments experienced throughout their lives.
Tum was born in Kenya, Africa, to a farming family. He was accepted into the University of Colorado on a sports scholarship while attending Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya. He started his American education in 2002 and while on the university track team, he won various meets and set records, including winning the 1,500 meter race at the 2005 NCAA Division II Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
Transitioning from life in Kenya to university life in the United States had its challenges for Tum.
“Adjusting to an American lifestyle was tough – the different food, people, weather and culture,” said Tum.
Tum graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2005, then worked as a networking department supervisor for a few years. He enlisted into the active-duty Air Force in 2008.
“Since I wanted to make a difference in America, I decided to become a U.S. citizen, and obtained my citizenship in 2009,” said Tum. “I wanted to give back to America because it had taken care of me.”
Tum was stationed in Kansas, South Korea and Alaska during his active-duty enlistment. Tum ran his physical fitness test’s 1.5 mile run in six minutes and 55 seconds and broke two age categories while stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. In 2011, Tum was selected to represent the U.S. in the Conseil International du Sport Militaire games (world inter-military games) in Bulgaria and England.
In 2016, Tum left active duty and joined the Kansas Air National Guard as a drill-status Guardsman to pursue a nursing degree, enrolling as a full-time student in the School of Nursing, Wichita State University. Following graduation, his goal is to work as a civilian intensive care unit nurse and continue his Air National Guard service as a nurse.
“Being in the military can help people reach their goals,” said Tum. “You represent more than yourself, you represent your country.”
“They (Tum’s family in Kenya) are very proud of me,” said Tum. “They see the U.S. military as a special service. They see the military uniform and know that we are there to help during times of war and disaster. It is an honor to serve in the Air National Guard alongside other minorities. African-American Heritage Month allows us to honor and value those that are from different backgrounds.”