Sunday, April 29, 2012

The coolest mission ever?

Chief Fowler doing the instructor thing at the Defense Information School.

The thing about school is we always remember certain teachers.   From 1st grade to bachelor's degree, it's the people with personality that stand out.  At DINFOS, Chief Chris Fowler taught a Multimedia course that included Illustrator, Flash, and Power Point.  He had an easygoing way that made us immediately like him.

Chief's tour at DINFOS is over, but he's moved on to something even cooler.  He and other MCs are on board USNS Mercy, and are about to be heroes to the world.  It's called Pacific Partnership 2012, and and this is the official mission:

Pacific Partnership 2012 will deliver humanitarian civil assistance and conduct environmental sustainability missions from USNS Mercy to the nations of Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

They're about to leave San Diego.  Head over to the blog and watch the good guys in action.

Pacific Partnership blog

On a side note, Chief and I have been playing email chess, and he just snapped an ugly losing streak.  Congrats, great way to start a deployment!


I should start by saying that I deploy in two days and should really finish packing. So there’s that, but anyway, after DINFOS I was moved to San Diego to join the team at the Navy Public Affairs Support Element West. At the moment, I am temporarily assigned to the staff of Destroyer Squadron Seven working aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy for Pacific Partnership 2012.

 Read about PP12 here.

One of the focal points of PP12’s public affairs mission is to leverage social media to tell the story.
Back at DINFOS, I would introduce the mulitmedia portion of the MC “A” School by asking students to raise their hands if they still read newspapers – the printed kind that come wrapped in a clear plastic bag – and usually three or four students would raise their hands. Then I would ask the students who used the internet to get their news to raise their hands. That is when the other 20 students would raise their hands.

My point was to illustrate how multimedia was the convergence of technology, print journalism, photography, video and graphics – and to focus only on one discipline was like trying to play chess by only moving your bishops – it probably wouldn’t end well.

Fast forward one year and Facebook, Twitter and Wordpress (to name a few) are being used reach a global audience – and even though we haven’t deployed yet – we are being read by people on EVERY continent with the exception of Antarctica and Africa. 

One of the things we are doing differently is that we are creating a “blogumentary” of the mission. It will be like a book that writes itself. Every Wednesday will feature a different author telling their part of the story, told from their point of view at that point in time.  And here’s the thing, the authors can write what they want. The content is edited for readability only – but the words will be those of the authors, and I don’t know what they are going to say.

The idea is that when the mission is complete,
 the whole thing will be like a book – a book written 
first person by the people living the mission. 

Comingled with the personality profiles are daily videos, pictures and updates – that way there is something new to see each day.  And even though we haven’t pulled away from the pier yet, we have already exceeded the largest number views for a single day since the blog has been online – and the blog has been online for about three years. Not only that, we’ve already exceeded that number twice.

That being said, we deploy in two days. When Pacific Partnerhip 2012 pulls away from the pier aboard USNS Mercy, approximately 800 people (we will pick up many of them in Hawaii and Guam), including doctors, nurses, soldiers, Sailors, airmen and civilians will have learn to work and live aboard a ship most of us have never been aboard before. We will visit countries far from everything and everyone we have ever known.

Six rock star MCs will be working long hours under some very difficult conditions to tell the story of the largest humanitarian and capacity building mission in the Asia-Pacific region.  And it will be awesome.  The MCs are key – without them – this thing wouldn’t work.  They help identify authors,  conduct pre-interviews to help the authors focus their narrative and shoot all the environmental portraits.  I also plan on incorporating video.   

The PP12 MCs are: MC2 Kristopher Regan (CHINFO JSOY sea) & LPO; MC2 Roadell Hickmon; MC3 Stephen Votaw, MC3 Mike Feddersen, MC3 Laurie Dexter and MC3 Clay Whaley. 

- MCC (SW/AW) Chris Fowler
Pacific Partnership Public Affairs LCPO


  1. Still connected from last year when our Son told his story of how great our military is in every way as he served on the USS MERCY...SO PROUD OF ALL OF YOU
    Great strides in "blogifying" your assignment Chief!

  2. We will miss all of you, but you will bring joy to so many, fair winds & following seas shipmates..