“Spartan” military journalists mobilizing to support Hurricane Florence relief operations

7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Maj. Marcus Byrne

Date: 09.13.2018
Posted: 09.17.2018 16:19
News ID: 293145

Current forecasts show Hurricane Florence heading toward the eastern United States at 140 mph. With a projected landfall early Friday, 1,500 miles away Soldiers from III Corps and Fort Hood are preparing to deploy and assist national and state-led relief operations.

Tuesday night units across the Department of Defense were put on a prepare-to-deploy order in anticipation of requests to support state and local officials in relief operations in what could be four states.

The 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment at Fort Hood prepared to deploy.

“Now, it’s just a waiting game,” said 7th MPAD commander, Maj. Marcus Byrne.
“We’ve been preparing for 24 hours to make sure our equipment is packed and the Soldiers are ready. As part of America’s Army we will do our part to help the American people.”

The 7th MPAD is a unit of 21 soldiers who provide public affairs support--creating print, photo, and video products--to inform the public on military support to civil authorities. Twelve members of the MPAD will deploy when the order is given.

“In consequence management it’s critical that people in the area are informed of what relief is available. It important to inform them on every available medium. It’s also important they know Americans are here to help them and they don’t think they are going to do this alone. We need to show them that their Army is here to support local and state officials and save lives,” said Maj. Byrne.

The MPAD’s top non-commissioned officer, 1st Sgt. Mark St.Clair, said his Soldiers can be out the door in 90 minutes, “We’re always prepared to go wherever the Army needs. We owe it to the American people to let them know their Army is ready and able to assist them in times of peace and war, and that they can rely on their Soldiers for support.”

“We’re a small element with a multifaceted mission,” St.Clair continued. “Information is a critical and primary component of disaster response. If this storm is half as bad as they’re saying, we don’t want to waste any time.”

The 7th MPAD will co-locate with a military task force headquarters to provide public affairs support, working with Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local officials to provide support as requested.

“I’m ready to do whatever’s needed,” said Spc. Connor Davis, 20, who is mobilizing for the first time as a Soldier. “I joined to both support and defend, and I’m trained and confident we will succeed.”

“For us it’s a big job that could cover a large area. America’s Army is ready to support, and the 7th MPAD is ready to let the American people know how we are helping with the Hurricane Florence response,” Byrne said.