By Sgt. Ida IrbyApril 15, 2013
FORT BLISS, Texas - For the last nine months, the 12th Public Affairs Detachment was deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in support of Third Army/Army Central Command to fulfill communication objectives that included monthly newscasts, quarterly magazines, and media facilitation. After an 18-hour flight, they arrived here in El Paso, where family and comrades greeted them, Jan. 28, 2012.
Seven soldiers safely concluded a deployment from May 13, 2012, to Jan. 28, 2013, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their hard work overseas reflects on their accomplishments.
Primary operations were to support the Third Army command information campaign, execute public affairs operations, assess media content management and provide defense support to public diplomacy throughout Kuwait.
According to Kalamazoo, Mich., native Capt. Megan L. Jantos, commander of the 12th PAD, their combined responsibilities included evaluating Third Army communication objectives across an area of operations of 20 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. Members of the 12th PAD visited more than eight countries in support of the Third Army/ARCENT. Almost 13,000 United States soldiers are now deployed to Kuwait to partner with regional allies in preparation for contingency operations in the regions.
For Sgt. 1st Class Paige Fluker being the senior noncommissioned officer of a squad-size detachment was rewarding. She monitored soldiers as they contributed to monthly publications, monthly newscasts, annual command information calendars, Public Service Announcements and Spots (commercials).
In all, the detachment created more than 400 products that covering troops from international divisions - to include nine video productions in the U.S. Army's Desert Vision television program and three print publications of the Desert Voice magazine - sponsored by Third Army.
"The troops who provided support, did an excellent job," said Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, 24th Press Camp Headquarters, who visited the troops in December 2012 along with Command Sgt. Maj. Len Harris, senior noncommissioned officer for the 24th PCH. "In a short time frame, this group came together to fulfill a unique public affairs mission. While serving on a general officer headquarters forward in theater, the 12th PAD did well, had fun, and came back home safely,"
Sgt. Ricardo Gallardo, a broadcast journalist in the 12th PAD, worked in Middle Eastern countries alongside multinational troops to provide in-depth public affairs support. Because of his proficiency, audiovisual products were distributed internationally and utilized by more than 17 different networks.
Sgt. Ryan Kelly, a broadcast journalist from Savannah, Ga., provided public affairs support during the Steppe Eagle 2012 international peacekeeping exercise at Camp Illisky, Kazakhstan - with participants from United Kingdom, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and the U.S.
"I met a lot of professional people, and created life-long bonds that I am grateful for," said Gallardo, native of Tustin, Calif., as he a described his deployment.
International travel was no stranger to Bristol, Tenn. native Sgt. Joshua Holt, a print journalist in the 12th PAD. As a public affairs liaison to Command Sgt. Maj. Stephan Frennier, command sergeant major, Third Army, Holt traveled throughout Kuwait and Afghanistan to document the efforts of U.S. soldiers.
"Anytime [soldiers] leave America, they see how other people live," said Holt. "For me, it was an eye-opening experience."
For more than 20 years, the U.S. has maintained presence in Kuwait - most recently it has transferred from the primary hub for troops moving in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, to being a final destination for contingency forces in the Middle East.