JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM -- Public Affairs professionals and military service members from Japan, Korea and the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Army across Oahu gathered for the first Public Affairs conference here, March 25-27.
"This was our first ever trilateral Public Affairs engagement," said Navy Capt. Chris Sims, U.S. Pacific Command Public Affairs Officer, "giving us the opportunity to further our senior leaders' messages and thoughts with fellow communicators, which can help build and grow our alliances."
Hosted by PACOM, the event was planned upon request from the Korean Ministry of Defense during a visit to Hawaii in February.
Representatives from Japan, Korea and PACOM each provided a detailed brief of their country's Public Affairs structure, practices and recent lessons learned.
"The briefs provided us the opportunity to build relationships, which is key to the success of any future Public Affairs environment," Sims said. "The best thing that came from this was learning from each other -- what we do, how and why."
Public Affairs Officers, Specialists and Operators from Major Supporting Commands on Oahu also shared experiences and participated in discussions about lessons learned and techniques for future use.
"One of the most valuable aspects of this event was the personal interaction with each other, not just in the work environment, but also building friendships," said Sims, who noted one of the most rewarding experiences of the week was seeing his Japanese and Korean counterparts sitting and talking during an evening meal, laughing and talking in depth.
According to Col. Eric Bloom, Deputy Director, PACOM Public Affairs, the conference provided the chance for PA operators who are already familiar with each other from working on numerous trilateral exercises for disaster preparedness to further synergize their efforts.
"All of our leadership teams see the importance of multi-national engagements in the Pacific, so when our leaders are focusing on something, it is important that we as communicators come together to align how we communicate all of our countries' efforts to provide peace and security across the Asia-Pacific."