196th MPAD Soldiers return from successful USEUCOM deployment; showcase U.S. military training with partners, allies
Story by Spc. Jessica Silhavy, 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
COLUMBUS, Ohio (03/29/22)
Imagine being 4,300 miles away from home, family and everything you’ve known, and in a completely different country for nine consecutive months. That’s exactly what eight Soldiers from the 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (Forward) did. On top of it all, they exceeded every expectation along the way.
From May 2021 to January 2022, a forward detachment of the unit, composed of an officer in charge and a mix of seven noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted Ohio Army National Guard members, traveled through Europe in support of the NATO mission Atlantic Resolve.
During the deployment the detachment provided public affairs support to document the strong military alliance between the U.S. and its partner nations and allies. They did this by documenting training events and by creating different written and visual products that were utilized by civilian and military outlets throughout the world.
“The information environment is ever changing, which makes public affairs always important,” said 1st Lt. Caroline Pirchner, 196th MPAD (Forward) commander/officer in charge. “Whether we are telling the story of what the U.S. Army is doing, the goals of the U.S. Army, or working with the media to help eliminate any disinformation out there in regard to the Army’s mission.”
The 196th MPAD’s Soldiers traveled through several countries including Germany, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The 196th MPAD’s Soldiers traveled through several countries including Germany, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Soldiers gained new experiences and broadened and improved their knowledge of how to operate as skilled mass communications specialists.
“My favorite part of the deployment is when I got to lead my own mission for the first time in Latvia, which was a really big deal to me,” said Cpl. Max Elliot, a 196th MPAD (Forward) member who was on the deployemnt. “Public affairs is important because it tells our Soldier’s story and it demonstrates the fighting capabilities of the U.S. Armed Forces overseas.”
Throughout all the missions and countries, the eight-person team surpassed every goal and expectation when it came to producing high quality public affairs content. In total, they published over 1,000 photographs, 190 videos and 40 written articles that reached over 27 million people. They made up only 5% of the available public affairs workforce, but their team's products accounted for 24% of the U.S. Army Europe content featured on U.S. Department of Defense and Army websites and social media platforms, according to statistics provided by the unit.
“I feel like what we did as National Guardsmen was above and beyond meeting basic standards for public affairs work,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Menegay, 196th MPAD (Forward) noncommissioned officer in charge. “I feel like our people pushed themselves, worked extremely hard, excelled and showed great motivation, and I am so proud of them for doing that.”