Master Sergeant Kelley S. Ramsey; Fallujah, Iraq

Public Affairs Chief, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Camp Fallujah, Iraq

Public Affairs Chief, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Camp Fallujah, Iraq

Q. What country/area are you stationed in? A. Camp Fallujah, Iraq Q. What is your primary duty? A. Public Affairs Chief, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). In charge of training and welfare of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) combat correspondents Q. What has been the most rewarding experience from your time abroad? A. Thanks to Marine Corps opportunities, I've been fortunate to conduct public affairs work abroad to include Panama, Japan, Korea and Aruba...yes, Aruba - US Marines participated in Dutch bi-lateral training. The assignments introduced me to new customs, courtesies, and traditions. However, the most rewarding challenges and experiences come from Fallujah, Iraq. It's not about withstanding 130 degrees heat, dust storms, or being away from our families for six months to a year. To me, the most rewarding experience was several weeks ago when Operation Al Fajar, the Battle of Fallujah, ended and our 15 combat correspondents returned alive, unscathed. Battle-tested, they successfully "told the Marine Corps story" through viewfinders, focusing on the brave marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought the insurgents and combated terrorism. They wrote stories and took photographs and footage while firing bullets from their M16 A2 service rifle. They served honorably, literally under stress and fire. More importantly, they continue to risk their lives daily here in Iraq and there hasn't been one complaint from them. Their dedication is phenomenal. Their "News from the Front" stories can be read on the Marine Corps official website at Q. What do you miss most about the states? A. My family and California beaches. Sure, there is sand here in Iraq...but you know the deal! Q. When do you expect to be home? A. Spring, 2005 Q. Who would you like to send your holiday wishes to? A. My husband US Marine Captain Billy Ramsey; my sons Billy,10, and Russell, 8; my parents, Scotty and Tucker Hughes; my sister, Christine; and brothers, US Air Force MSgt. Tom Hughes, John, and Russ. My grandmother "Pinki" Mobus and my parents away from home, Tom and Nancy Buscemi. Q. What was your last (if any) public sector job? A. None. I am a 19-year veteran of the US Marine Corps; all of which have been focusing on "telling the Marine Corps story." Q. What have your learned about public affairs/public relations from your work abroad? A. The following five lessons are from work abroad from my various duty stations: 1: Marines lead by example based upon core values: Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Based on these principals, we cannot let a select few tarnish our brand image. 2: Be a good follower. The Marine Corps has rank structures for a reason, [just like] the corporate world. 3: Hearing what your leader says isn't good enough, you must listen to your leader and understand the commander's intent. Your unit will be more efficient if everyone has a clear, concise, and mutual understanding of mission at hand. 4: Always communicate effectively. As Marines, we are good at "passing the word," but follow up on action requested is paramount for success. 5: Just because you won the battle, doesn't mean you won the war and it can't be won overnight. Q. What is the biggest challenge you face in your job? A. Communicating our messages and educating the Iraqi people. Q. What is different about communicating to a US audience, and communicating where you are stationed? A. Here in Iraq, there is a language barrier amongst us. Most of us do not speak Arabic. Fortunately, we have an Arabic translator attached to our public affairs office who communicates to media during press conferences, and our higher headquarters has a engagement team that translates press releases for us. At the time of this print, we also don't have the luxury of setting up an appointment with a client, hopping into a vehicle and "doing lunch." As this country moves toward reconstruction, that concept may be possible in the future. Q. Do you enjoy what you do? Why? A. I enjoy being part of a winning team, the US Marines. During my 19 years serving in the Corps, I have yet to wake up and say, "I hate this job." The Marine Corps challenges me a daily basis, physically and mentally, and offers opportunities of a lifetime. Q. Is the US winning the communications battle abroad? A. I believe we are, thanks to embedded journalists who are reporting the truth.

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