ANSBACH, Germany (May 14, 2020) – Carrying her camera and sound equipment, Sgt. Alleea Oliver, 49th Public Affairs Detachment (PAD), strides onto the Katterbach Army Airfield. Spotting an AH-64 Apache helicopter sitting in the 3 o’clock sun, she walks around it to determine the best angle to shoot a video with the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) asset in the background.
Oliver and Pfc. Hunter Garcia, 49th PAD, bring a special set of skills to U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach. Most likely, community members have seen them shooting video at the commissary or health clinic, and a number of other places around the installation to bring awareness to the community.
Capt. Robyn Haake, 49th PAD commander, said he could send Oliver and Garcia on any mission and he has complete confidence in them.
“We rushed to get to Europe to assume our mission and when the pandemic hit, they knew things would change, but they themselves only shifted focus, realizing the show didn’t stop,” he said. “I’m proud of their impact and very fortunate to have them on my team.”
Normally, the 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD), as part of Atlantic Resolve, supports the 9-month mission in U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach, to help cover rotational units like the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, currently located at Storck Barracks.
Col. John Broam, 12th CAB commander, said the USAG Ansbach community was fortunate to have the experience Oliver and Garcia bring to help communicate the mission to the community.
“They have raised our public affairs presence to new levels of quality and professionalism,” Broam said. “They have been, and continue to be, an asset to both 12th CAB public affairs and garrison public affairs.”
The 49th PAD was deployed to U.S. Army Europe to support European Deterrence Initiative and the original DEFENDER Europe-20, but with many of the related missions being canceled or modified, some of the 49th PAD was rerouted to various places. Oliver and Garcia were personally selected to help support the 12th CAB, and have by merit helped to support USAG Ansbach.
“The shift in mission has been the most challenging part,” Garcia said. “I’m not used to working with specific units. My comfort zone is more offering PAO support to anybody who asks for it … I would say it has added another perspective to my work experience.”
Oliver said, she is learning how to operate within a staff section as the acting public affairs non-commissioned officer in charge for 12th CAB.
“I will take the skills I’m learning here in Ansbach back to my organic unit,” she said. “I’m learning how to use different platforms to communicate and train without being in the same location. This experience has really helped me think outside of the box.”
Even with the unique set of challenges, both Oliver and Garcia, who has been working on his photography skills while here, agreed the experience has been a good one.
“Despite the impact of COVID-19, I’m glad to be here,” Oliver said. “I’m grateful for my team and I know later on in life, I will implement the things I’ve learned from my experience.”