NAIROBI, KENYA -- U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers from the 107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment traveled over 8,000 miles to report on a multinational exercise in Africa Feb. 28 through March 17. The unit of Florida Army National Guard public affairs specialists departed St. Augustine, Florida, for Kenya, where they spent the last three weeks reporting on Exercise Justified Accord 22.
Over 800 personnel from the U.S. joint force, inter-agencies, African Union and NATO participated in the exercise coming from more than 20 countries from all over the world. The 107th MPAD was there to capture it all.
“The 107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment played a key role in supporting Exercise Justified Accord,” said Maj. Ramee Opperude, Justified Accord public affairs planner. “Split between two unique locations the detachment worked closely with maneuver units in (the field) and at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi. Justified Accord provided a great opportunity to work with the Kenya Defence Forces. The 107th MPAD executed their mission essential tasks and provided high quality public affairs products throughout the exercise.”
MPADs are charged with gathering and distributing media to both internal and external audiences with the intent to tell the Soldier’s story. MPADs also provide direct public affairs support through planning, coordination, execution and supervision of expeditionary and campaign operations in support of theater, interagency, intergovernmental, and multi-national and unified operations.
“I would say that the value public affairs brings to an exercise is that they capture the story from a different view,” said Capt. Leo Mac, mayor cell, officer in charge. “They are able to tell it from an outsider's point of view looking into the exercise versus the Soldiers executing the task at hand. Even though they are running with the Soldiers, their perspective is that of an outsider looking in; then they’re able to tell our story from our words and theirs combined.”
The 107th embedded eight Soldiers in Exercise Justified Accord, six in Isiolo and two in Nairobi, Kenya.
“This mission was a rare opportunity to work with (U.S. Africa Command) and 21 partner nations," said Capt. Tahisha Coleman, public affairs officer Joint Force Headquarters F.L. Army National Guard and MPAD officer in charge of Justified Accord. "The MPAD Soldiers handled each challenge and the unique nature of the mission with professionalism and enthusiasm. They came together and worked as a team. I could not be more proud of their adaptability and how they captured the spirit of Justified Accord.”
Exercise Justified Accord is led by the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa. The Italy-based headquarters leads several key exercises in Africa, including African Lion and medical readiness exercises annually. The 107th plans to return to Exercise Justified Accord 23, said Coleman.
“I would tell any unit considering requesting the 107th to stop considering and just go with you all,” said Capt. Leo Mac, mayor cell officer in charge. "Our experience with the MPAD has been amazing, their professionalism and demeanor was truly impeccable. That right there should sell it for anyone thinking of using your public affairs team.”