Public Affairs Conference held at Hancock Field

  • Published
  • By Lt Greta D. Lewis
  • 174 Fighter Wing
The National Guard Bureau's Director of Public Affairs was the featured speaker at the Northeast Regional Public Affairs Conference hosted at Hancock Field ANGB on May 25, 2010.

Mr. Jack Harrison spoke with the state public affairs officers from ten northeastern states (New York, Delaware, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, District of Columbia, Vermont, Maryland, Connecticut and Ohio), to share his vision and direction regarding NGB Public Affairs, as well as changes to be expected in the future. Discussions covered a broad range of topics including social media and the opportunities it provides along with the challenges it poses.

Co-organizers of the event were Mr. Eric Durr, New York Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs and MaryJo Timpano, 174th Fighter Wing Director of Staff. The event began with a presentation by Timpano and Maj. Jeff Brown, 174th Public Affairs Officer, which showcased the capabilities of the 174th Public Affairs Office, which includes Visual Information (VI). VI was very instrumental in producing the materials to keep Hancock Field members and the community informed regarding the 174's recent conversion from F-16 fighter jets to the MQ-9 Reaper mission.

Timpano and Brown also talked about the planning that was implemented to operationalize PA and what will be required to keep the 174th fully engaged in the community. Timpano said that when you take on and complete a project, you learn what it is you did well, and you also see areas where you can improve. Durr said, "I felt that outlining the actions the 174th took during the conversion, and the challenges they encountered, would provide good discussion fodder for the state PAO's from around the region, and I was proved right."

The group took a break from the discussions for a quick tour and lunch. They toured the base's Field Training Detachment, the site where all MQ-9 Reaper maintenance personnel obtain specialized training to perform various maintenance functions. The detachment is responsible for training all Air Force components: active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel on MQ-9 maintenance. Lunch was served in the base's Heritage Room and it gave attendees an opportunity for networking and more discussion.

After lunch, the group returned to the wing conference room to continue their discussions, at which time Mr. Harrison provided his insights into recent changes at the NGB and how his office could be of assistance as the state PAOs navigated these changes. Also, there was significant interactive dialogue about how the various states could work together to address the challenges that lie ahead. When asked if the conference had met his expectations, Mr. Harrison acknowledged that he arrived at Syracuse with an open mind to allow the attendees to determine the direction of the discussions. Harrison said, "It was exactly what I wanted it to be, a free flow of information."

Jack Harrison has been the director of NGB Public Affairs for the last two and a half years and works directly for Gen. Craig McKinley, Chief National Guard Bureau.