Sunday, June 14, 2009

What did you do in the war, mommy?

Well, it's doubtful I'll ever hear my own kid say that. Perhaps it would be better to write "what did you do in the war, Aunt Anrie?" :)

People have asked me what exactly I, and my unit, do here at the sprawling base of Camp Liberty, Baghdad, Iraq. So, now, over the next few days I am going to take you on a tour through my world. Sit down and hold on, it's going to be a wild ride!

Okay, well, maybe no. But at least it will be a little enlightening.

Overall, the mission of the mighty fightin' 211th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment is to produce print and broadcast products focused on the missions and Soldiers of Multi National Division-Baghdad (MND-B). Iraq is separated into different sections, each under the control of a separate entity. MND-B's territory is Baghdad. While the 211th is based at Liberty, we send our journalists all over the area to "embed" with units outside the camp to get stories. Everything we produce is on Our main products are a 2X a month newspaper, the Crossed Sabers, a daily e-zine called The Daily Charge, a daily radio spot called Cav County Update and a 1x a week newscast called First Team Update. Go check out the website for all of these products. Also, anything we produce is also marketed to hometown media as well as national and international media, depending on what the story is about.

As for me, my job in all of this is to ensure that things go smoothly. In all honesty, the toughest part of my time in command was pre-mobilization. That was a lot of work and planning. Once we arrived, however, my staff and NCOs took over and they make things work. During the week I attend meetings at the battalion staff level and with 1st Cav Div PAO. Once a month I prepare and submit the USR, or unit status report. We also have other administrative requirements to submit, including R & R requirements, equipment inventories, and whatever else is required at the time. Even though we're here for several more months, we've already started working on end-of-tour requirements, including evaluations and awards.

Me and the command staff, which is basically my executive officer, 1LT Sarratt, and my 1SG, 1SG Anthony Martinez, spend hours keeping the unit running. Everything from equipment issues to redeployment. There are schedules to be approved, missions outside of the wire to be looked at, and our least favorite topic, unit discipline. We hate that part but it's just as important as anything else.

Our days and weeks follow the same basic schedule regarding meetings and submissions. The three of us go to lunch every day at 1130 and head out to dinner at 1730 (that's 5:30 p.m. for you non-military types). In between we answer e-mails, turn in our paperwork, listen to music, and keep each other from going bananas. :)

Next post: office/work photos.

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