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NEWS | Nov. 10, 2014

New York National Guard Public Affairs Team Tells the Story in Japan

By Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo New York National Guard

Four New York Army National Guard Public Affairs Soldiers plugged into a joint public affairs effort here to collect stories, photos and video from a joint U.S.-Japan exercise that kicked off Oct. 27 and ran through Nov. 7.

The New York public affairs element consisted of three members of the 138th Public Affairs Detachment and a representative from Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs.

Along with the New Yorkers, the Orient Shield public affairs team included Army Soldiers from U.S. Army Japan and the 2nd Infantry Division; an Air Force Armed Forces News (AFN) Broadcaster stationed in Japan,and a Navy AFN journalist based in Guam said Lt. Col. Kevin Toner, U.S. Army Japan Public Affairs Officer.

Orient Shield 14 tested the ability of Japanese Ground Self- Defense Force members and American Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis -McChord, Washington to work together as a team.

The public affairs team focused on highlighting the partnership and collaboration between the two forces as they conducted a series of combined light infantry, squad-level training events that included urban assault, building clearing and medical evacuation, to name a few.

The exercise culminated with troops working side-by-side in a scenario-based tactical field training exercise that included an air assault mission.

Collectively, the entire public affairs team produced 19 news articles, and a dozen broadcast pieces reaching more than 300 news and social media sites detailing the accomplishments of the U.S. Army and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

According to Toner, the mix of public affairs professionals from all branches meant better storytelling.

Although the team shares common training, their experiences in their respective forces brought different perspectives, he explained.

"Everyone learned new techniques and approaches to telling the Soldier story," Toner, said.

The New York public affairs team enjoyed working side-by-side with their JGSDF public affairs counterparts creating a 50-page electronic magazine for roughly 1,500 U.S. and JGSDF exercise participants, said Sgt. Jeremy Bratt, the team videographer.

"It was an amazing experience being able to work with our Japanese counterparts," said New York Army National Guard photojournalist Spc. Frank Cagnina. "It took us a couple of days to figure out how to communicate and with the help of an interpreter we were very successful."

"The experience the New York team brought both in print and broadcast capability was more than able to tackle the complexity and challenges of covering an exercise like this," said Capt. Kenneth Coleman, Public Affairs officer for the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

"The amount of work they accomplished and the quality in which they did it was significant," he added.





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