What it’s like to do a Public Affairs job in Afghanistan

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - It certainly happens weekly, if not daily. There's an attack, a bombing or some other violent incident in Afghanistan.

Even the nation's Capital, Kabul doesn't seem particularly safe.  "At times, yes it did feel dangerous, but it becomes sort of your every day life," said Megan Gully, a Public Affairs Specialist for the Army Materiel Command at Redstone Arsenal.

Megan spent three months in Kabul, Afghanistan working at the NATO facility there,  on what the Army calls a Developmental Assignment. The idea was for Megan to learn things that would make her better at her job with AMC, but she was also a teacher.  "We would go over to the Ministry of Defense and we would teach their up and coming public affairs specialists...how to write a press release...how to post on social media. In one case Megan said they took their Afghan students from the initial story all the way to the final posts and news releases.

While part of the job was teaching, another part was covering events as they happened. Megan Gully helped with news coverage when the Army dropped the Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb, the MOAB, on an ISIS tunnel complex.  She also had a big part to play when Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Kabul. "To have Secretary Mattis standing four feet away from me and everything he was saying, I was just typing out and sending out in the world. That was just amazing," said Megan.

The hours were long for Megan, but she said she wouldn't trade anything for the experience working inside the "Resolute Support Compound".  There was however one thing she didn't like...the shower facilities. "We still joke about it when I talk to people. You had to be sure there was high pressure before you committed to having a shampoo, or else you were going to need a pack of water bottles," said Megan.

Even with the shower problems, Megan said she would definitely go back and do the same job again. The trip was a career highlight, and her memories of the Afghans she met all boil down to the same thing. "They absolutely want their country back. They want to be free from terrorism. They just want a safe place to raise their kids," said Megan Gully.

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