Bling-bling for Army Public Affairs

brig generalYesterday, they Army promoted one of this year’s 39 Colonels to Brigadier General in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  What’s significant about yesterdays is that it is the first time in a decade a career public affairs officer has pinned on a star.  Brigadier General Lew Boone was the officer promoted.  As much as I would like to say the promotion has everything to do with importance of public affairs in today’s Army with the complex media landscape, it REALLY has everything to do with Lew Boone.  I am not just writing this to be a kiss-ass (only 7 unique people read this blog, none of them military).  I am writing this because it was then-Col. Boone I turned to for help when I first started in the public affairs world.

  • How can I be heard at a table where everyone outranks me?  – Call Col. Boone.
  • How do I deal with 75,000 protesters against base expansion?  – Speed dial, Boone!
  • What do I do when a helicopter crashes and Soldiers are killed?  – Speed dial, Boone!

Not once was he too busy for this little major.  Not once did he give bad advice.

My new boss at the time, now Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, is a very intense, intelligent, engaging commander who both understands and knows how to use public affairs.  I, as a newly promoted Major, had just transferred from the Infantry branch to public affairs.  Aside from being photographed in Iraq a couple of times, I did not know a single thing about public affairs. I couldn’t even get “qualified” because of a backlog at the Defense Information School where they teach the Public Affairs Officer Qualification Course.  I replaced a seasoned, career public affairs Colonel (essentially three ranks higher than I).  So, to say the least, Gen. Helmick was getting a raw deal.  Had it not been for Col. Boone, his patience and sage advice, I KNOW I would have been shi*-canned.  How do I know?  Gen. Helmick told me…the first day I met him!

Congrats to the Boone Family!

More importantly, thank you Big Army for getting this one right.  Brig. Gen. Boone has undoubtedly mentored hundreds of Soldiers and civilians throughout his career.  Its good to know, he’ll be able to continue to do so for hundreds more.

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1 comment so far

  1. Paul Merlino on

    You have been discovered, and thanks for the food guide!


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