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Innovative Program Boosts Morale, Wins Award
A voluntary program to increase coverage of deployed airmen while at their forward
location won the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Director’s award.
By Maranda Rimes / 96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., June 13, 2006 – A voluntary program developed last fall to increase coverage of deployed airmen while at their forward location won the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Director’s award for special achievement for planned single event, program or product.

Operation LINC, Liaison-In-Country, involves finding out where Eglin airmen are deploying, contacting their deployed public affairs shop and identifying those airmen to them.

"This program set out to increase the morale of our airmen and sister servicemembers by showing their families and friends back home that they are okay at their deployed location, and they are doing the job they’ve been well-trained to do."

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kristen Duncan

The deployed public affairs shop then acts as the liaison for submitting stories and photographs of Eglin’s airmen back to the 96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office for publication in the Eglin Eagle.

“This program set out to increase the morale of our airmen and sister servicemembers by showing their families and friends back home that they are okay at their deployed location, and they are doing the job they’ve been well-trained to do,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kristen Duncan, 96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs chief of internal information.

“Eglin deploys thousands of airmen each year,” Duncan said. “With an increase in deployments, and the current military operations supporting the Global War on Terror, good news stories about our hard-working airmen were lacking in the local media.”

“I was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom to Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq to the Expeditionary Medical Support unit,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Christine Johnson, 96th Medical Group medical technician.

“I worked in the emergency room and was the point of contact for the hometown news release program,” she explained. “We did holiday greetings, and I also participated in teaching dance at the local gospel service at the chapel.”

Johnson’s story was printed in her deployed newspaper and the Eglin Eagle. “I had co-workers and friends save my ‘Joyful Noise’ article until I returned, and it blessed me,” she said.

According to Duncan, the media division of her public affairs shop thought it would be a good idea to work together to increase news coverage of deployed airmen to their hometown media outlets and the base population.

The public affairs office then modified the hometown news release form and obtained the signatures and places of deployments from airmen participating in this voluntary program.

“By getting their signatures to approve the release of their news stories and photographs that might be done by the deployed public affairs shops, we became the link between the deployed public affairs shops and hometown news media across the country,” Duncan said.

Many of the stories and photographs also run on Air Force Link. Last fall when Eglin had roughly 700 people deployed, the program helped to increase participation in the hometown news release program from 5 to 65 percent. At least one story or photo ran in each of the weekly base newspapers from October through January.

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Nov. 23, 2014
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