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    Passion for job, heart for Soldiers make Pascual #1

    Passion for job, heart for Soldiers make Pascual #1

    Photo By Spc. Maurice Galloway | Staff Sgt. Brian K. Pascual, 308th Support Battalion, 17th Fires Brigade career...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Maurice Galloway 

    17th Field Artillery Brigade

    CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq — A mother with a very sick child sits in a Seattle hospital by his bedside hoping and praying for her child to get better. In her mind she's thinking about hospital bills, medicine prices and extra child care cost.

    This mother is up for a bonus on her job that will expire at the day's end if not accepted. She makes a call to her career counselor late that evening telling him of her situation and why she was unable to come in a sign her contract extension.

    Without hesitation the Army career counselor gets in his own vehicle; drives an hour to the hospital to take the contract to her; providing her a little piece of mind during a difficult time.

    It's this type of selfless service time-and-time again that has earned Staff Sgt. Brain K. Pascual, 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 17th Fires Brigade career counselor, the nomination to compete in the Secretary of the Army Career Counselor of the Year Competition in Washington D.C., Jan. 18, 2010.

    "The hardest thing for me is being the center of attention, because I know that nothing is accomplished alone," said Pascual a native of Waipahu, Hawaii. "I feel that if I'm being recognized then my whole team should be as well. So I'm not only representing myself, I've been selected to represent our entire brigade."

    Representing his brigade is a bit of an understatement as Pascual is the sole representative of all 70 career counselors deployed throughout Multi-National Forces- Iraq.

    Re-enlistment is a commander's program and it's the responsibility of the chain of command to prepare Soldiers for employment opportunities both within the Army and in corporate America.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph E. Santos, 17th Fires Brigade's senior non-commissioned officer nominated Pascual for the competition upon learning that the retention non-commissioned officer had met his goals for the 2009 fiscal year.

    "He has a real passion for his job and truly exemplifies the Army values," Santos said. "We couldn't be more proud of him and all of the effort that he has shown since he's been with us."

    The Fort Lewis based brigade has led all units on post in retaining Soldiers for the past three years, and shows no sign of slowing while deployed to Basra, Iraq.

    "Sgt. Pascual has done a great job for us," said Master Sgt. Jason A. Koutsalas, 17th FB, senior career counselor. "It's very rare that you find someone that has a genuine compassion for Soldiers and their families compiled with a tremendous work ethic like him. He never ceases to amaze me," Koutsalas said.

    There is a lot of pressure that comes with trying to meet the demands of the Army retention program. Each brigade is authorized one career counselor for each battalion. The 17th FB is comprised of four battalions as well as several smaller elements. The brigade's three-man retention team continues to demonstrate the capability of handing that pressure.

    Even with all the extra work that Pascual has had to pick up with his team being short handed, he hasn't let the pressure trickle down to any of the Soldiers that seek his counsel.

    "Sgt. Pascual has a relaxed approach that doesn't make you feel like you're being pressured to rush in to something you don't want," said Spc. Francisco J. Carrillo, Alpha Company, 308th Brigade Support Battalion ammunition specialist and native of Los Angeles. "In my opinion, his approach is what all counselors should use. Getting to know Soldiers is the best way you can help place them in the right positions," he said.

    Career counselors like Pascual receive directives from the Department of the Army Headquarters informing them of specifications and monetary incentives for Soldiers eligible to re-enlist in this all volunteer Army.

    Based off of the stipulations of those incentives, counselors have to market the Army to the eligible candidates throughout their unit trying to meet the needs of the Soldier as well as the retention requirements of the Army.

    After meeting with Soldiers and gaining an assessment of what it would take to gain their continued service; Pascual then correlates the Soldier's request with the incentives offered for the fiscal re-enlistment year and drafts a custom contract.

    "At first I was undecided on whether I wanted to re-enlist. My decision weighed on if I could get the duty station of my choice that would be the most comfortable for my family," said Devin D. Lowder, Alpha Company, 308th Brigade Support Battalion, ammunition specialist and native of Tucson, Ariz.

    "The initial offer that was presented wasn't exactly what I wanted, but Sgt. Pascual told me to be patient and later he was able to get me stationed at Fort Carson, Colo.," Lowder added.

    Patience and understanding may drive the way this counselor to performs his duties, but it's the completion of his mission that is the fuel that propels the Army.

    "Soldiers are the driving force of this Army, it's their service that astonishes me, because they don't have to stay but yet time-after-time I listen to people and they tell me that there is nothing else they'd rather do," Pascual said.

    Although his retention goal has been reached, Pascual's mission still continues after the competition. He will be heading back to Fort Lewis to provide support for the brigade's 1st Battalion, 94th Infantry Regiment.



    Date Taken: 12.30.2009
    Date Posted: 12.30.2009 02:33
    Story ID: 43276
    Location: BASRA, IQ 

    Web Views: 551
    Downloads: 286