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    Wisconsin Army Guard public affairs unit returns from Baltics

    Wisconsin Army Guard public affairs unit returns from Baltics

    Courtesy Photo | Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin’s adjutant general, presents a challenge coin to...... read more read more



    Story by Vaughn Larson 

    Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office       

    by Vaughn R. Larson

    The Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) returned over the past week from a deployment to Eastern Europe.

    The 112th MPAD provided critical public affairs support to Operation Assure, Deter and Reinforce, an ongoing multi-national joint effort to defend Europe from aggression in the region. A significant part of the MPAD’s mission was to ensure that people knew the capabilities NATO allies were bringing to the region of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. They supported the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and 4th infantry Division along with regionally aligned forces by releasing nearly 1,300 public affairs products — virtually all of the U.S. Army’s public affairs coverage of interoperability training and U.S. reassurance efforts in the Baltic region.

    The public affairs content the 112th generated during the deployment appeared regularly in international media and on social media. The detachment was parceled out into smaller teams and dispatched across the region as needed.

    Along the way, the National Guard Bureau named the 112th MPAD as its public affairs organization of the year for units of six to 15 personnel. While the 112th currently has 14 people assigned, only eight deployed for this mission. One of those members, Capt. Daniel Yarnall, also spent approximately two months supporting the public affairs efforts of the U.S. Army’s Southern European Task Force-Africa during noncombatant evacuation operations in the immediate aftermath of the war in Israel.

    "I couldn't be prouder of what the 112th accomplished on this deployment,” said Maj. Joe Trovato, MPAD commander. “The dedication, talent and professionalism of our Soldiers really shined through during our tour, and being recognized as the Public Affairs Organization of the Year is really a validation that we're a unit that does things the right way all the time.”

    "Really, I look back and realize our whole team has accomplished something amazing while deployed to NATO's eastern flank,” said Sgt. Cesar Salazar. “Maybe I'm just speaking for myself, but I wasn't looking to win any awards, I simply wanted to do my job to the best of my ability with the experience I've had from over the years. Clearly, our work paid off and it shows that our team is more than capable of exceeding even that award-winning standard."

    Staff Sgt. Oscar Gollaz said this deployment gave unit members real-world testing of their training.

    “No exercise at home replicates the intensity of using every skill in your arsenal — photography, writing, video editing, the whole gamut,” Gollaz said. “But beyond technical expertise, it's about honing crucial soft skills: interacting with senior leaders, navigating media interactions, and relying on your team to fill knowledge gaps.”

    Capt. H Howey said this mission will rank among his favorite memories and experiences.

    “Together, we've navigated the workings of cultural diplomacy, bridging gaps, and building understanding between our forces, NATO forces, and the people of the Baltic region,” Howey said. “Whether through press releases, social media posts or community events, our efforts have reached far and wide, leaving a lasting impact on the regions we've served.”

    Gollaz recalled the frequent travelling the mission required.

    “We embraced our constant relocations with a chuckle, adopting the motto ‘Semper Movere’ — Always Moving,” Gollaz said.

    Trovato said the 112th MPAD set out to deliver impactful, strategic information products that showcased and amplified the work American troops and their allies were doing in the region.

    “The 112th succeeded on every level — developing themselves as Soldiers and leaders and forming a cohesive team, while contributing substantially to strategic communications efforts across Poland and the Baltic region,” Trovato said. “It was incredibly rewarding to watch our Soldiers grow as Soldiers, leaders, public affairs professionals, and people while executing an important mission. We could never replicate the experiences we had overseas in a training environment back home.”

    MPAD members expressed pride in the National Guard Bureau’s recognition, but focused more on their accomplishments during their deployment.

    "Even without the award, I'm really proud of our team's work in Europe,” Salazar said. “Some of the content I saw pushed out was really captivating, showcasing the growth and combined experience of all of our Soldiers. If there's something that I'd wish our team took out of this deployment, I hope that it's pride in knowing that we are truly setting the standard with not just content production but with our teamwork and ability to cooperate."

    Gollaz agreed.

    “In the end, this deployment has enriched me both professionally and personally,” Gollaz said. “It has been a privilege to serve alongside incredible Soldiers and contribute to showcasing their dedication to the world. As I return home, I carry a wealth of experiences, lessons learned, and newfound confidence.

    “This Baltic deployment may be over, but its impact will forever resonate within me,” Gollaz continued. “I think everyone will agree — it’s about time we come home.”

    - 30 -



    Date Taken: 03.13.2024
    Date Posted: 03.12.2024 15:58
    Story ID: 466006
    Location: WI, US

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