SMILE! You're on PA's camera!

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Chris Stagner
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
There are a lot of different things that come to mind for people when they hear 'public affairs'. Some people think newspapers. Some people think TV. Some people think photos. Some people think media.

Everyone who thinks one of those things is correct.

The 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office provides numerous services and accomplishes various missions in support of the wing.

With 8 million hits annually, one of the most visible products created by the PA team is the base's Web site -

"We use the Web site to support the PA core values of Airmen morale and readiness," said Airman 1st Class Eboni Knox, 48th FW/PA Web manager. "We do that by highlighting the great things Liberty Warriors do daily; whether that be on base, during their off time or at deployed locations."

The content of the Web site is comprised of news, feature and sports stories along with commentaries. It also has photos and videos to tell the story.

"The Web site should be the definitive spot for Airmen and their families to check out what's going on at the base," said Airman Knox. "If someone wants to know about new programs on the base, the results of the most recent flag football game, who's being highlighted as a top performer or who's doing something cool and interesting, we're here to provide that resource."

When it comes to direct communication on the base, the Commander's Access Channel is widely regarded as one of the most useful tools available.

"We accept PowerPoint slides from around the base and tailor them to meet the commander's communication goals," said Airman 1st Class Tiffany Deuel, 48th FW/PA CAC manager. "The channel runs in all base houses, dorms, at the post office, the shoppette and military personnel flight building. The ones at the pharmacy and gym are inoperable right now, but we're working to get those back up and running."

People who want to add things to the CAC need to submit their slides to no later than two weeks prior to the first week they'd like the slide to run. The slides will run for two weeks prior to the event and the week of the event.

"Unfortunately, based on the system limitations we have with the CAC, we can only update it once per week," said Airman Deuel. "So it's updated with current information every Thursday."

Recently the CAC was implemented as the computer screen savers on all base computers attached to the network.

"In essence, the CAC runs on the screen saver whenever someone's computer goes into standby mode," said Airman Deuel. "It really helps spread the message; especially to our Airmen who live downtown and don't have AFN."

Another service offered by the PA office is photo support.

"It's actually one of our core missions to document happenings on the base," said Airman 1st Class Lausanne Morgan, 48th FW/PA Studio manager. "We have trained photographers who do everything from alert photography for base support to studio shots for awards packages and special duties to photos to support written stories about the base."

The photos taken on Lakenheath don't stay within the gates, and Airman Morgan makes sure that's at the back of her mind for every photo shoot.

"Our photos are submitted to Air Force and Department of Defense levels," said Airman Morgan. "We work hard to ensure we're positively representing every Airman from the Liberty Wing every day. Whether we're taking photos for awards packages or shooting for Air Force News, we're here to highlight our Airmen."

One of the aspects of public affairs that is less visible on base but has a much broader reach over all is the external program. Falling into the categories of media and community relations, the program is designed to inform, educate and increase relations with neighboring communities.

"The external program is crucial to the base," said 2nd Lt. Ashley Skillman, 48th FW/PA deputy. "We work diligently with our friends in the local media to ensure important information about the base and its programs reaches our neighbors in the local community. We also have established programs to inform Airmen in the community of school and work-related weather delays."

The external program doesn't exist solely as an information tool.

"We also use our community relations program to further relations with local communities," said Lieutenant Skillman. "We have tours on the base weekly that provide people with an inside look at our mission. We also conduct town hall meetings about important topics such as aircraft noise complaints and changes on the base that might affect our neighbors.

"We work incredibly hard to ensure we're stewards in our community and that our neighbors know we're here as a positive part of it," said the lieutenant.

So whether it be a to highlight sharp troops, educate Liberty Warriors about a new program around the base or document for historical purposes, public affairs Airmen will be seen around the base and in offices taking photos with their notepads out. If they're not the ones holding the camera, they could be the ones behind it telling media outlets the Liberty Wing story.