Unit Maximizes Resources To Hone Public Affairs Skills

Story by MAJ Melodie Tafao on 06/27/2018
FORT SHAFTER FLATS, Hawaii There are only 16 Mobile Public Affairs Detachments in the United States Army Reserve and only one in the state of Hawaii the 305th MPAD. With these limited units and limited personnel, one can imagine the challenges each of them face in receiving quality training to enhance their journalism and broadcast capabilities. However, the 305th MPAD was able to capitalize using on-island organizations to get the training done.

The 305th MPAD conducted annual training from June 11-24 to enhance media training, photo-journalism and broadcast skills, while networking with various organizations throughout the island, including the 9th Mission Support Command, Theatre Support Group, American Renaissance Academy, Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, and the 28th Public Affairs Detachment.

The training began with participation in the 9th MSC, TSG's Exercise Rapid Response in Alaska.

"What I envisioned with this Exercise Rapid Response was to have facilities prepared for emergencies," said Col. William Nutter, commander of the TSG. "With my background with being public affairs, I saw the need to have the outside influence of having media there but also to have Soldiers respond in the leadership role and knowing the policy and guidelines to meet the standards."

While the 305th MPAD assisted the TSG during this exercise in preparing detachment commanders and leaders for media interviews and press conference, it also reinforced the risk and crisis communication capabilities within the unit itself.

"It allowed us to strengthen and hone our tactics, techniques and procedures, strengthen our ability to function as a team and to work more efficiently," said 1st Sgt. Crista Mack.

The training then continued back on the island of Oahu, where the 305th MPAD personnel met with students from the American Renaissance Academy in Kapolei. The students, ranging from fifth grade to 12th grade, received a class on how to conduct on-camera interviews. They learned basic techniques such as the importance of preparation and practice, avoiding filler words, and being aware of body movement and hand gestures.

The students then had the opportunity to conduct an on-camera interview, answered 3-5 questions, reviewed their video and critiqued their interview.
"It was helpful because it showed me how I present myself to other people," said one of the students.

This experience was a win-win with both organizations.

"It was rewarding to give back to the community and teach what I have learned over the past two years," said Sgt. Daniel Mettert, a public affairs sergeant.

The training then led the team to a tour of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies.

"I chose the DKIAPCSS due to the fact that after I attended PAQC and toured their facility it really helped me see the strategic purpose of their facility in the Pacific. I thought their PAO has a very interesting position and must have a thorough understanding of her intended audiences. I thought the tour would assist the 305th with a more strategic understanding of the Indo-Pacific," said Capt. Ramee Opperude, the annual training officer in charge.

The team also received training from the 28th Public Affairs Detachment on Schofield Barracks in basic photography and broadcasting.

"Training with the PAD was a natural fit due to our similarities. They have a talented team and I knew the training would be of the highest quality. Their team is well versed in PA operations in the Pacific, and I hope they were able to share some best practices," said Opperude.

This was yet another occasion where it benefited both organizations.
"The best way to learn something is to teach it," said Capt. Steven Guevara, commander of the 28th PAD. His team is currently transitioning all their print journalist to broadcasters, and vice-versa, to fulfill the 46S military occupation specialty transition.

Annual training also included classes from Mr. Dennis Drake, U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii Chief of Public Affairs, Defense Media Activity, physical training and a team hike through Aiea Loop Trail.

The consensus among the team was that annual training went well.

"It was well-rounded training. We trained at various echelons, from training with our peers with the PAD to a more strategic level in the Pacific with the introduction to the DKIAPCSS," said Mack.



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