By Kelsey O’Connor
Major Joy Staab is a Public Affairs Officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard(WIARNG), the commander of the 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD), and the previous deputy director of public affairs for the WIARNG. She has been on three separate deployments; to Kuwait, Iraq and Kosovo. She is well known and well respected in the WIARNG and I was given the opportunity to spend an afternoon with her.
We met at her house where we spent some time just talking about her schooling and background history.
Staab was a cadet in their ROTC program at UW-Steven’s Point. After realizing that her grades and involvement were similar to many of her classmates, she decided to contract with ROTC in hopes of using it as a competitive edge. Upon graduation in 2003, she commissioned as an officer in the WIARNG.
Because public affairs is considered a “Functional Area”, Staab first had to obtain a basic branch first. She chose to be an adjutant general or human resources officer. However, her heart was always with public affairs.
“I love public affairs because there are never two days the same.” Staab said as we got into her car to drive to the MPAD armory.
The MPAD armory is the newest armory in the state of Wisconsin. It is a beautiful, clean building which houses Marines, Navy, and Army. This is where Staab commands a unit of 20 Soldiers. These Soldiers have jobs as print specialists (46Q) and broadcast specialists (46R). Staab walked me through their armory and showed me their drill floor, supply room, print and broadcast studios, their sound room for recordings, their brand new video equipment and her office.
She explained that their job is to cover stories about other units. These stories include training events, ceremonies, and anything new happening in the WIARNG. If they deploy, they follow other units and write stories about their advancements, missions, and anything else going on.
We then toured the Joint Force Headquarters, where Staab worked prior to commanding the 112th MPAD as the state’s deputy director of public affairs. This building is the home of many offices from both the Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard. Here I met Lt. Col. Gary Thompson and Capt. Joe Trovato, both of whom work in the public affairs department. Thompson explained to me that their job is to put a message out to the public that the WIARNG is always ready.
After spending the afternoon with Staab and her colleagues, and learning more about the duties of a public affairs officer, I have definitely decided where I want my military career to go. Not only is public affairs an exciting branch of the WIARNG, but it also incorporates my love for writing. I am so glad that I had this amazing opportunity and look forward to a future in public affairs.