FORT HOOD, Texas — Deploying U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 143d Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC) welcomed the Chief of Army Reserve Public Affairs, Col. Shannon Horne, and Army Reserve Public Affairs Sgt. Maj. Marisol Walker in Fort Hood, Dec. 14, 2022.
The Army Reserve public affairs team flew in from their headquarters in Fort Bragg, North Carolina to speak with over thirty Soldiers comprised of unit public affairs representatives (UPAR) and Soldiers interested in learning more about the career field and the necessary steps to become a public affairs officer, public affairs mass communications specialist, combat documentation / production specialist, multimedia illustrator, and visual information equipment operator-maintainer.
Horne began the discussion by urging UPARs “to get out there and tell the Army story.” She went on to express her excitement about the role of a public affairs professional in the Army Reserve because each Soldier has a unique background and civilian job that may be different from their military occupation specialty (MOS).
Walker discussed the UPARs contributions to deployments. She explained that not every unit has a public affairs officer assigned, however, the Army Public Affairs is currently working on making an additional skill identifier for UPARs because of the importance of the role.
Walker encouraged Soldiers to “be creative and think outside the box” when going out and speaking with Soldiers and to take photos of Soldiers doing interesting things during their downtime. She explained that if the photo is a great shot and approved to be uploaded to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), “you never know where that photo is going to end up.”
“Public Affairs has changed within the last ten years,” Horne said, “there are no two days that are the same. It is constantly changing. If you are somebody that likes sitting behind a desk…PA is not for you.” She candidly expressed that the field of public affairs is intellectually challenging and the school for all Department of Defense public affairs professionals, Defense Information School (DINFOS), in Fort Meade, Maryland, has rigorous coursework for enlisted personnel and officers.
Horne and Walker closed out the forum answering questions about Army Reserve retention options, credentialing programs, reclassification, and opportunities to provide active-duty operational support all over the world. “If social media, video or photography interests you…you really owe it to yourself and your Army career to think about reclassing to 46 series,” said Horne.