From National Guard Soldier to Social Media Star

Story by Sgt. Gauret Stearns 110th Public Affairs

When people think of social media influencers with over 280,000 followers they don’t normally think of National Guardsmen.

Texas Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eugene Hunyadi is a targeting officer for the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 36th Infantry Division. But he is also a local celebrity within the unit and across the force, for making viral videos about his service in the Texas National Guard and the military as a whole.

“I had a video that went viral in 2021 which was about how discipline in the military is a little different and how we sometimes do things a lot differently from the way civilians do it and it struck a chord with people and went viral,” Hunyadi said. “It had millions of views within just a couple of days and I'd picked up tens of thousands of followers very quickly.”

Hunyadi started his path to stardom making short videos on one account and has grown his social media profile across several platforms.

“Most of my followers are veterans of active duty, National Guard and the reserves,” Hunyadi said. “The rest are just people interested in the military.”

Before he started making videos he had a blog where he talked about everything fitness related as well as his weightloss journey of losing 130 pounds to rejoin the military.

In the past few years the military has updated guidance on the use of social media for service members. The updated guidance can be found in ALARACT 073/2022.

“I've been asked by a number of Soldiers ‘what would happen if I was told by the brigade commander or somebody else that I can't post videos on one of my pages anymore?’ And my answer to them is, you know, I wouldn’t make videos on that platform anymore,” Hunyadi said. “I'm always going to follow the rules, regulations and directives that we're given and I do think that the military should make sure that what we're doing is safe and right.”

The rules and guidance of social media use with the DOD are stated in Official Use of Social Media for Public Affairs Purposes (DoD Instruction 5400.17).

“It's like when you hand a private a rifle, it's a dangerous weapon if it's not handled properly,” Hunyadi said. “If they don't have the right training they can hurt themselves or hurt others. When you have the proper training, the proper guidance and you've been shown how to use that weapon properly, it is a tool that you can use to accomplish your commander's mission. I think that the same is true of social media if we receive good guidance, if we receive good information, it is possible that it can be a tool for positive gains in morale in mentoring, coaching, in teaching and in showing that the military lifestyle, while not easy, is something that's fulfilling and rewarding.”