FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (April 16, 2015) -- Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office's photojournalist Melissa Buckley is the U.S. Army's top civilian journalist for 2014.

The Office of the Chief of Public Affairs made the announcement on April 7 of Buckley as the winner of the Army's Moss-Holland Civilian Journalist of the Year, which is the Army's highest award for a civilian journalist.

Buckley, a Marine spouse and Anna, Illinois, native, has been a photojournalist with the GUIDON post newspaper, since 2011.

"I am excited to go out with a bang, but sad that I am leaving this great job and community," said Buckley, who will depart with her husband in June to Iwakuni, Japan.

Buckley was a live-newscast producer for an NBC affiliate and briefly worked as editorial assistant for a civilian newspaper in Jacksonville, North Carolina, before coming to Fort Leonard Wood.

"When I first started, I viewed having a TV background as a disadvantage to me. But, I took what I learned in the TV industry and combined it with the guidance from the newspaper folks I work with," she said.

Buckley quipped that she thinks she still has a habit of "writing for the ear and not the eye."

"I am continually working on it," she said. "I have been blessed with leaders who have challenged me, mentored me and pushed me to try to new things."

"I am so proud of Melissa and all her accomplishments with the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office," said Tiffany Wood, Public Affairs Office director. "Melissa is an extraordinary journalist whose stories have made a huge impact on Fort Leonard Wood and the Army. Melissa's commitment and dedication to telling our Soldiers' stories is truly inspiring, and it has been an honor to work with such a talented reporter."

Buckley's 2014 journalist of the year submission package included the news article "Wounded K-9 team returns home," the commentary "Is successful military spouse an oxymoron," and features "Canines, owners take part in special blessing event," "Father Daughter Ball brings fathers, daughters together," and "Recruit fights cancer to become Soldier."

At the Installation Management Command level, she earned 2nd place in the Photojournalism, Series and Moss-Holland Civilian Journalist of the Year categories in the Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Journalist Awards.

"Getting to know the community is my secret to getting great story ideas," according to Buckley. "The best stories I have had the privilege of writing come from casual conversations I have while 'shooting the breeze' with people on post. I have even had acquaintances message me on Facebook with story ideas."

Buckley's Army award qualifies her to compete for the pinnacle of military journalism awards at the Department of Defense's Thomas Jefferson Awards Program.

Journalism awards are nothing new to Buckley, who won at the IMCOM level the two previous years -- most notably two first places in 2012 at the Department of Army level Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Competition.

"It is easy to excel when you love your job and work with wonderful people. I am blessed to have a job that allows me to serve our men and women in uniform. There are thousands of examples on post of service members being awesome. It is my privilege to let the world know how impressive the troops of Fort Leonard Wood are," Buckley said. "My name might be on the award, but my Fort Leonard Wood PAO Family has always had my back. I couldn't have done it without them."