“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.