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Air Force communicators join forces

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Airman 1st Class Jessica Lockoski, left, and Senior Airman Amanda Currier, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, make preparations for a news release for the on-scene commander’s approval after a simulated explosion June 27, during a Major Accident Response Exercise. (Photo by Erin Lewis)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Airman 1st Class Jessica Lockoski, left, and Senior Airman Amanda Currier, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, make preparations for a news release for the on-scene commander’s approval after a simulated explosion June 27, during a Major Accident Response Exercise. (Photo by Erin Lewis)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – A member of a local media organization interviews military members before being allowed to accompany a Golden Knights demonstration flight at the 2007 McConnell Open House. Some of Public Affairs responsibilities include escorting, facilitating and containing local media. (photo by Army Capt. Marcos Cervantes)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – A member of a local media organization interviews military members before being allowed to accompany a Golden Knights demonstration flight at the 2007 McConnell Open House. Some of Public Affairs responsibilities include escorting, facilitating and containing local media. (photo by Army Capt. Marcos Cervantes)

DJIBOUTI, Africa -- Senior Airman Jamie Train, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs,  assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, J-9 Combat Camera, photographs Designated Marksman Sgt. Joey Cruz and Forward Observer Sgt. Joey Toves, assigned to Guam Army National Guard, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry (Light) during their dry-fire exercise at Arta-11 Range, Djibouti, Africa Sept. 18. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Ashley)

DJIBOUTI, Africa -- Senior Airman Jamie Train, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, J-9 Combat Camera, photographs Designated Marksman Sgt. Joey Cruz and Forward Observer Sgt. Joey Toves, assigned to Guam Army National Guard, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry (Light) during their dry-fire exercise at Arta-11 Range, Djibouti, Africa Sept. 18. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Ashley)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Tech. Sgt. Genevieve Morris and Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, sit behind close doors and discuss requirements for Airmen in upgrade training.  These weekly meetings between the Public Affairs chief and the photo section Non-Commission Officer In-Charge allows for each to understand the others training requirements due to the recent merge of the two career field’s realignment.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Ronald Lafosse II)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Tech. Sgt. Genevieve Morris and Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, sit behind close doors and discuss requirements for Airmen in upgrade training. These weekly meetings between the Public Affairs chief and the photo section Non-Commission Officer In-Charge allows for each to understand the others training requirements due to the recent merge of the two career field’s realignment. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Ronald Lafosse II)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Airman 1st Class Roy Lynch, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, adjusts Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason Goodman’s, 89th Regional Readiness Command, uniform before taken his photography in the studio.  McConnell’s Public Affairs photographers support Army and Navy personnel as well as Air Force members with studio photography for official portraits for Air Force General Officers, awards packages, special duty assignments, official passports, and citizenship applications for every branch.  (Photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Maria Ruiz)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Airman 1st Class Roy Lynch, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, adjusts Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason Goodman’s, 89th Regional Readiness Command, uniform before taken his photography in the studio. McConnell’s Public Affairs photographers support Army and Navy personnel as well as Air Force members with studio photography for official portraits for Air Force General Officers, awards packages, special duty assignments, official passports, and citizenship applications for every branch. (Photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Maria Ruiz)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Senior Airman Amanda Currier, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, proof reads a story at bldg. 1120 on Dec. 12. Public Affairs spend several hours per week, drafting commentaries, writing speeches, editing and writing stories with accompanying photographic support. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Roy Lynch III)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Senior Airman Amanda Currier, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, proof reads a story at bldg. 1120 on Dec. 12. Public Affairs spend several hours per week, drafting commentaries, writing speeches, editing and writing stories with accompanying photographic support. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Roy Lynch III)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Airman 1st Class Maria Ruiz and Staff Sgt. Ronald Lafosse II, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, gathered information from Staff Sgt. David Burchess, 22nd Security Forces Squadron, before documenting on an incident.  Public Affairs gather information to be released to local media.  Public Affairs photographers are on call to document mishaps, natural disasters, rescue and recovery, and investigation boards for Security Forces, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Disaster Preparedness, flying or ground safety offices, and other emergency response agencies.  (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Airman 1st Class Maria Ruiz and Staff Sgt. Ronald Lafosse II, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, gathered information from Staff Sgt. David Burchess, 22nd Security Forces Squadron, before documenting on an incident. Public Affairs gather information to be released to local media. Public Affairs photographers are on call to document mishaps, natural disasters, rescue and recovery, and investigation boards for Security Forces, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Disaster Preparedness, flying or ground safety offices, and other emergency response agencies. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Airmen charged with telling the Air Force story have joined forces to execute their mission more efficiently.

Public affairs offices and multimedia centers across the Air Force officially merged Oct. 1.

"This is a move that makes sense," said Tech. Sgt. Chyrece Campbell, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, noncommissioned officer in charge of photography. "In the past, we've always worked closely together. Now that we're part of the same office, it's easier to get the job done and accomplish the mission."

The 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs office and the McConnell Multimedia Center made the transition in April, and now both organizations are located in Bldg. 1120.

The merged group is referred to solely as public affairs; however, it is comprised of Airmen in different career fields who all share the job of communicating Air Force messages to internal and external audiences.

There are airmen in the public affairs career field, which is divided into three main sections: internal information, community relations and media relations.

Internal information Airmen produce news stories and features about McConnell members and organizations and provide some photographic support for the e-Contrails, the Tanker Times and McConnell's public Web site. They also manage the the base marquee and approve content for the commander's access channel.

The community relations section organizes and conducts base tours. Community relations specialists also run the speaker's bureau, a program through which PA sends volunteers out to speak at local community events. People who work in this section also handle the honorary commander's program, which is an organization of key community leaders who work with the base and whose jobs mirror those of base leadership.

The media relations section responds to media queries and facilitates local and national news coverage concerning McConnell members and assets.

"Air Force research shows only 1 percent of Americans know someone in the Air Force, so the percentage who doesn't know someone has to rely on public affairs resources to discover the Air Force's role and why it is important," said Airman 1st Class Jessica Lockoski, 22nd ARW PA. "Public affairs ultimately helps garner benefits like financial funding, and fosters great community relations that help our people meet their mission needs, and I am happy to be apart of that process."

Additionally, public affairs personnel manage McConnell's public Web site and conduct security and policy reviews of public sites generated by base organizations.

"It's a big job for the four people on the public affairs side of the house, but I enjoy it," said Staff Sgt. Ronald Lafosse, 22nd ARW PA chief of internal information. "I like it because it's never dull. I learn and see something new everyday."

Then, there are the Airmen who used to be part of the multimedia center, photographers and videographers.

The photographers take official studio portraits for Team McConnell members, as well as local Army and Navy servicemenbers. They are also responsible for official passport photographs, and they provide most of the photo support for the e-Contrails, the Tanker Times and McConnell's public Web site. They also document historical events, official ceremonies and certain incidents that occur on base. Like Airmen in the public affairs career field, they are on call 24/7.

McConnell does not have a videographer at the moment, but the base is scheduled to get one in February. His job will be to capture newsworthy events on video and to create videos about different McConnell organizations for documentary purposes.

The Airmen who used to be part of the multimedia center also run the commander's access channel.

It's these Airmen who tell McConnell's portion of the Air Force story to the world.