(EDITOR'S NOTE: Cpl. Robert England is assigned to the 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Division-North, stationed at Contingency Operating Base Warhorse, Iraq.)
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq - A soldier from Williamsport recently was involved in delivering specialized training for soldiers in the 5th Iraqi Army Division.
Staff Brig. Gen. Dia'a, commander of 5th Iraqi Army Division, requested the training after realizing that the U.S. Army's mission of informing audiences helps to build support.
Sgt. Shawn Miller, of Williamsport, a photojournalist assigned to the 109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, a Pennsylvania National Guard unit based at Fort Indiantown Gap that is deployed in support of U.S. Division-North, demonstrates photographing from a different perspective.
During the training, senior leaders of 5th Iraqi Army Division learned how to accurately gather and distribute information in a timely manner during a course at Forward Operating Base Khamees in Diyala province of Iraq.
U.S. Army Soldiers of 109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, a Pennsylvania National Guard unit based out of Fort Indiantown Gap, deployed in support of U.S. Division-North, taught the Iraqi Army officers methods used by the U.S. Army to compile and distribute information to public audiences through a variety of media.
As American Soldiers deploy to foreign countries, specifically combat zones, the need to inform increases in response to the curiosity and concern of the families, friends and communities of soldiers serving overseas.
Public Affairs Soldiers inform through videos, digital photos and written articles highlighting soldiers, their unit, and their mission.
"I cover stories on units from (U.S. Division-North) in the advise, train and assist mission in northern Iraq," said Sgt. Shawn Miller, a public affairs specialist-writer with the 109th MPAD. "I take photos and write stories from the missions I cover."
Miller said he used his years of photojournalism experience - some of which came while working as a photographer for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette - to teach Iraqi Army media officers the basic mechanics of taking photographs to tell the story seen through the eyes of the photographer.
"I taught them basic composition for photos, like the 'Rule of Thirds,' " he said. "I showed them some examples of photos for referencing on how to take photos from different angles. My main emphasis was to get them to change their perspective rather than just walking around taking snapshots."
Maj. David Repyneck, executive officer, 109th MPAD, also lent his experience in public affairs during the course.
He taught the Iraqi Army media officers how to compile a news release according to U.S. Army doctrine.
Sgt. David Cannon, a noncommissioned officer assigned to 304th Military Information Support Operations Co., coordinated the training, which he said will have lasting effects that will benefit both the Iraqi Army and the local Iraqi populace.
"The ability to correctly message to the population of Iraq will give the government a chance to address direct issues that various groups of the population have while keeping the people current with what the (Iraqi) Army is doing," he said.