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NEWS | Sept. 5, 2013

Attitude adjustment: Eustis Soldier talks teamwork

By Airman 1st Class Austin Harvill 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Every service believes in teamwork. Whether a battle-buddy, shipmate or wingman, Service members know looking out for one another is paramount for mission success.

In the 93rd Signal Brigade at Fort Eustis, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Frank Tungpalan believes staying positive is the way to succeed.

"I kind of have a reputation as a 'day-brightener,'" said Tungpalan, 93rd Sig. Bde. information systems operator. "Whenever I see other Soldiers down and depressed, I always try to get them out of their slump with a joke or something."

As the brigade's Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for 2012, Tungpalan's method of success has proven effective, and other Soldiers have learned from him and aspire to lead as he does, said Sgt. Tshana Taitt, a fellow 93rd Sig. Bde. NCO.

"Since I have been here [Tungpalan] has had a very positive influence on me as a junior NCO," said Taitt. "He has a good way of being firm yet approachable and that's something I admire about him."

Taitt said Tungpalan gave her the tools she needed when she wanted to follow in his footsteps in trying to become NCO of the Year.

"I found out that I would be competing in the next NCO of the Quarter board in September, so I decided to talk to [Tungpalan]," explained Taitt. "After talking to him, I got the confidence I needed and now I feel good about my upcoming board."

Tungpalan learned the importance of feeling needed early on in his career, and he wants to share that feeling with others.

"When I was a specialist, I started to believe I didn't have enough power to really make a difference in my own career, let alone the Army," said Tungpalan. "Without my wife, colleagues and friends, I might still be there. I think other Soldiers need to know they can make a difference."

Taitt saw this difference in the way he acts as an NCO, and hopes to emulate him.

"NCOs like Staff Sgt. Tungpalan make me want to stay in the Army because I know you don't have to be the stereotypical NCO, yelling and cursing at people like they show in the movies," said Taitt. "When I look at his work ethic and attitude, it lets me know that there are great leaders in the Army today and that's something I hope to mirror from him."

While Taitt believes Tungpalan will have quite a few stripes someday, he does not believe plowing through his career until he is a command sergeant major is the way to be happy - it is about the journey.

"People always talk about their jobs and reaching the top," said Tungpalan. "What I focus on is just enjoying the ride and staying relaxed in what I do. No one should stress over a taking a break after work, or try to do everything by themselves. Soldiers shouldn't sweat the small stuff."

Spc. Aaron Bryant, 93rd Sig. Bde. information systems technician, has changed his views on enlistment because of Tungpalan's influence.

"[Tungpalan] has shown me there is nothing wrong with being myself as an enlisted Soldier," said Bryant. "When I can live in my strengths, I feel like everything will be okay."

Whether as an NCO or as a technical expert, Taitt believes Tungpalan impacts more than just a few Soldiers.

"He is always positive, and not once have I ever heard him complain," said Taitt. "With that positive attitude, he inspires not only me but the unit to try harder and do better."