I write as a civilian for the Department of Defense as part of the Army News Service.
I enlisted in the Air Force in May 1998 and after basic training in San Antonio, Texas, was trained as a writer at the Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Md. My first assignment was to Dover Air Force Base, where I worked as a Public Affairs specialist, writer and editor for "The Airlifter," the newspaper of the 436th Airlift Wing.
I also served at Misawa Air Base, Japan, as part of the 35th Fighter Wing. There I worked as a media relations specialist. Instead of writing for the local base newspaper, I set up interviews for reporters from civilian newspapers, and helped them get their questions answered. In turn, the civilian reporters would write articles based on what the interview subject or I said and then the local population would read those stories. In that way, my words and messages reached the civilian audience outside our military gates.
I interview a Soldier at Mikhail Kogalniceanu Airbase, Romania. Photo by SFC James R. Legans Jr.
In 2002, I moved to Washington, D.C. to work for Detachment 16 Air Force News Agency. As part of AFNEWS, my job was to cover the Air Staff and Air Force programs and policy. Air Staff members are the men and women at the Pentagon who write policy and make decisions that affect the entire Air Force. I wrote about acquisition programs such as the F-22, the F-35 and the effort to purchase a new tanker aircraft. I also covered programs involving the Air Force's chief information officer, installation and logistics, installations environment and logistics, air and space operations and warfighting integration. My work for AFNEWS was published online at the Air Force's web site.
I separated from the Air Force in March 2007 and went to work in the private sector for Comprint Military Publications, writing Air Force related news involving both Bolling Air Force Base and Andrews Air Force Base. I also did a stint at the Defense Intelligence Agency working for their internal publications.
By December 2007, just nine months after separating from the Air Force, I was offered a job at Army News Service and Soldiers Magazine. I accepted that job and have been publishing on http://www.army.mil and in Soldiers Magazine since then. In October 2008, and as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005, the Department of Defense took over operations of several of the Armed Forces media agencies to form the new Defense Media Activity. Today I am an employee of the Department of Defense, though I continue to focus my writing on the Army.
The military has sent me to Japan, Turkey, Southwest Asia, Korea, Germany, Honduras, Romania, the Marshall Islands, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. The stories and photos I have taken are here on my Web site. I've also had the privilege of covering the 2004 presidential inauguration parade, one of the 2004 inaugural balls, and one of the 2009 inaugural balls.
Since 1998, I've worked for and written for the following newspapers, news agencies, or organizations:
• The Airlifter, Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 8, 1998 - May 23, 2000
• The Northern Light, Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 24, 2000 - June 11, 2002
• The Tip of the Sword, ONW, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Sept. 1 - Dec. 5, 2001
• The Desert Eagle, OIF, Southwest Asia, June 10, 2004 - Sept. 15, 2004
• AFNEWS, Washington D.C., June 11, 2002 - Sept.30, 2006
• Secretary of the Air Force, Public Affairs, Washington D.C., Oct. 1, 2006 - March 15, 2007
• Comprint Military Publications, Alexandria, Va., March 16 - July 13, 2007
• Defense Intelligence Agency Public Affairs, Washington D.C., July 16 - Dec. 9, 2007
• U.S. Army Soldier Media Center, Washington D.C., Dec. 10, 2007 - Sept. 30, 2008
• The Defense Media Activity, Washington D.C., Oct. 1, 2008 - present