Storyteller becomes the story
May 14, 2013
VILSECK, Germany -- Soldiers training in the Joint Multinational Readiness Center get to see and hear Sgt. Rebecca Schwab a lot. She goes where they go, slogging through the mud at Grafenwoehr, trying to ignore the rain in Hohenfels, or getting up at zero-dark-thirty in Vilseck, along with a video camera slung over her shoulder.
Schwab is a "Jill-of-all-trades" for the Vilseck, Germany, station AFN Bavaria, writing copy, hosting DJ shows, producing announcements and shooting feature stories.
Wherever she goes, whether it's Germany, New York or Iraq, she tells the Soldier's story. The Iraq stories came while she was deployed to Baghdad Province 2009-2010.
Today, a lot more people know her name.
The Department of Defense just named Schwab Military Broadcast Journalist of the Year. You can figure out the key to her success when she talks about what she does.
"This job is awesome," she said, "because you get to experience life through someone else's eyes and then tell their story."
Schwab won the award by submitting a compilation of her work in a competition pitting her against the best military broadcast journalists in the Department of Defense.
Like any good story, Schwab's tale has a surprise or two.
The 33-year-old woman enlisted in the Army in 2007 after completing a two-year master's degree program in Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University, Israel.
"I'm very proud of her and all the other AFN Europe winners," said AFN Europe Commander Lt. Col. Sherri Reed. "But what means just as much to me is that the awards indicate we are communicating Department of Defense messages and stories in an interesting and engaging way."
What's a tad ironic is the military journalist who would prefer to tell a Soldier's story, rather than her own, is now the story.
When AFN Bavaria announced her accomplishment, the station got 124 likes and 12 comments in one day, a station record.