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Fort Hood Press Center
DATE: February 29, 2012 10:36:29 AM CST

Logisticians train as UPARs to tell their fellow Soldiers’ stories

SSG Thompson gives media brief to UPAR's Nancy A. Bourget, the chief of community relations at the III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs Office, talks to participants of a unit public affairs representative training on 27 Feb. at the Soldiers Ministry Center at Fort Hood, Tx. Bourget emphasized the importance of Soldiers reaching out to and giving back to the community where they live. Sgt. Sean McGuire, a broadcast journalist with the 4th Sustainment Brigade, explains interview techniques to participants of the Unit Public Affairs Representative training  on 27 Feb. at the Soldiers Ministry Center at Fort Hood, Texas.

Story by Capt. Monika Comeaux, 13th ESC PAO

FORT HOOD, TEXAS - Twenty-five 4th Sustainment Brigade Soldiers participated in a daylong unit public affairs representative training on Feb. 27 at the Soldier Ministry Center here.

The training was organized by the public affairs offices of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and the 4th Sustainment Brigade to give UPARs the tools of the trade to provide better coverage for their units and give credit to the Soldiers for their hard work.

The scheduled included classes on the basic duties and responsibilities of a UPAR, media relations, community relations, basic news writing, basic photography, social media and interview techniques. Participants also conducted practical exercises in photography, and received instant feedback on the photos they took.

Army Regulation 360-1, Army Public Affairs Program, actually requires units to appoint a designated unit public affairs representative if they are not directly supported by a public affairs office. The regulation also mandates public affairs officers to provide training and support to command-designated unit public affairs representatives.

The UPAR training is the first step in following regulatory requirements. Col. Mark Simerly, commander of the 4th SB, is very keen on having trained representatives and expects each one of his companies to have a primary and an alternate UPAR, sending in at least two good-news stories a month. 

“Soldiers thrive on praise and recognition of a job well done,” said Simerly.  “In my experience the best person to tell the good news story of a unit is an assigned Soldier who fully understands the unit's mission, challenges and personalities. A trained, dedicated UPAR can be tremendous morale builder and a great source of fuel to unit pride.”

Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson, the 4th SB PA noncommissioned officer in charge shares his commander’s enthusiasm. Thompson loves his job and hopes that UPARs will learn to like their additional duty. “The biggest thing that I want conveyed to Soldiers is that this is a really good, fun job. You get to go out, experience a lot of other military occupational specialties that a lot of other people don’t quite get to experience.”

“By telling our story, highlighting instances of outstanding service and citizenship, we demonstrate our accountability to the American people,” said Simerly. “We also present positive examples of mission accomplishment or community support to inspire other Soldiers.”

Spc. Sharod C. Whites, an automated logistical specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade only arrived to his unit two weeks ago and quickly found himself with the additional duty of being a UPAR. He hopes to get to know his fellow Soldiers and unit better and faster with the help of this ‘side job.’

To prepare for the job, “I will start reading a lot more articles so I can get the hang of how people write the articles,” said Whites. “I guess I will look at my unit’s training calendar to make sure that I am aware of current and upcoming events that I can possibly be at.”

Thompson hopes that everyone had a positive take away from the training, and that UPARs look at their duties as a fun challenge. Thompson has a very optimistic outlook about the future: “My ideal end state is to have the best UPARs in the entire Army. Every public affairs shop has UPARs that fall under them.  It is my job to make sure they have training available so they can perform their best,” Thompson said.


For more information contact:
13th Sustainment Command Expeditionary
Public Affairs Office
(254) 288-7342
(254) 288-6410
Bldg. 39009, Support Ave.
Fort Hood, TX 76544
[email protected]