46Q- whats the low down???

i am considering reclass to 46Q (Pubic Affairs). I would apreciate any info anyone can give me on what life is like and possible duty stations, deployment and whatnot as a 46Q.
Thanks in advance for your time.
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I'm looking for some info myself, have you found any out? My reclass has already been approved, and I am set for school at Ft. Meade in May, with a follow on assignment to Ft. Bliss in September. Let me know if you do find out anything, or if you have any questions that I might be able to help you out with.
I am a 46Q, SGT. Before that, I was wheeled vehicle mechanice. Life as a Public Affairs Specialist is widely varied. You might be in a Press Camp Headquarters unit with an 0-5 and CSM and about 35 people, or you could be the only Enlisted PA person in an entire brigade, working straight for the Public Affairs Officer (usually a major). Our job is changing. It used to be we wrote a lot of stories, now it is mostly pictures, facilitating civilian media (CNN, FOX, local news, etc), and advising commanders on how to handle them. What messages to put out, what to release, etc. It is really adapting and there a lot of things to do. There are Armed Forces Network assigments (yes, the guys who do those stupid commoercials LOL) to sercet, cool-kid, special operations command assignments. Airborne if you want.

The only downside I see is if you want to lead soldiers, probably not the career field for you. It has now changed to an accession only, E-5 and above MOS for active duy. Not a lot of joes to lead. Still some, but not many. My unit for instance, is ALL NCO, with a Major on top. Not going to lie, for the first time ever, no troops to lead is a nice break. Promotions are good, although with so many SSGs reclassing in, the points just jumped to 798. But I expect them to come down. Promotions to E-7 is ridiculous easy. I have never known anyone not to make it on there first look. They have a hard time keeping people in because so many leave and take a civilian job offer or a non-military government job. You do a lot of networking here. Let me know if you need more info.
Would definetly love more info. I am E-5 promotable now, so would be waiting on points and school. Looking for info on what the DINFOS school was like. How was your courseload, downtime, things like that. I am scheduled to join a sustainment brigade at Fort Bliss in September. Definetly looking forward to the new job, and after having been a tanker for the last 14 years, definetly looking forward to not having any joes and their issues for a little bit.
Hi all,46Q SSG(P) here - (just to add)

Yes - it is an AWESOME MOS - yes - we have a lot of fun in it- yes - everyone thinks its a sham job: they couldn't be more wrong. While we are not a combat arms MOS, we are a VERY HIGH visibility job. If we make a mistake, the world knows.

I really cannot say anything about the school, but my best advice to you is go and checkout a copy of the latest AP Stylebook. It will be you new bible in school and afterwards. I remember that the weekends were yours (if you are prior duty), after class was yours and PT was PT - I believe you WILL have to pass a PT test to graduate. Also, go check out the school site: www.dinfos.osd.mil .

And if you do not have one - get a freaking sense of humor...it will make your life MUCH easier. And if you have problems with people criticizing your work, get over it. Get rid of any thin skins you have now. You may get an editor who is really nice - or you may get my old boss, who was ....not.

If it will be a few months before your school date - I highly suggest you talk with your local military PA guys, brigade or division - normally the garrison PAO guys are civilian and will direct you to them anyways.

And mcgeorge36, I am pretty sure I know who your new boss is gonna be - good guy, he knows his stuff.

And as dar said above, if you need more info, just ask!
Sphufounder, congrats. Did you just make the last SFC list that came out last week? I hear that there is usually a pretty high pick-up rate.
I am really looking forward not only to the school, but to the MOS as well. I have a sense of humor (have to as a tanker, otherwise you won't last long as well), and I am very open to constructive criticism.
What does your normal day consist of, and what do you actually do on a regular basis? At what level would I be working, brigade, or battalion level? Just a few questions I have, if you can answer them, thanks for your help.
Thanks! And yep - made the list last week. Now its the waiting game! haha And seriously - congrats on picking the best MOS in the Army...in my opinion! I reclassed to PA in 2004 from 25V, Combat Camera. Yes, they are two different jobs - please, never refer to yourself as Combat Camera if you are not a 25V. People will call you that, but don't do it yourself - I'm just saying that to get it out there - I have seen some folks who get REALLY mad when it happens - just sayin' Its weird. Anyways, on to what you asked.
Normal day...well, I cant give you a timeline but I can say that being a PA NCO in a bde is a tough, yet rewarding assignment. You could very well end up being the direct PA advisor to your Col. (And no, I'm not typing "Marine-style" - as dar can attest! And here is a link to check out to see what I am talking about: AP Style Military Titles haha) You will probably never work a company level job again - always BDE level or higher - with working a PAD being the exception. Oh a PAD is a public affairs detachment- it a company of PA Soldiers who can rapidly deploy when called. I have worked with PADs in the past but never have the honor of working in one - if you are ABN qualified, I suggest trying to get the 49th PAD (ABN) in Bragg - great guys!!

And dar hit another point, if you like life on the edge we have slots in USASOC - doing all the high-speed stuff.

Anyways, sorry to get off topic, but some of the duties I have had to perform as a PA NCO (deployed and not) are: developed a brigade newsletter/newspaper, worked close with the garrison PAO for work on the post newspaper, designed and published a 32-page full color magazine, spent a week on an Australian naval vessel in the Persian Gulf, escorted visiting VIPs (Charlie Daniels, Toby Keith, Ted Nugent, Blues Traveler, Nick and Jessica Simpson...yea, I know...many politicians and various reporters including Lara Logan and Oliver North, if anyone remembers him), designed and implemented an adopt-a-school program where BNs in my BDE adopted and support local elementary schools with things like having Soldiers go and read Dr Seuss books to classes during Dr Seuss day. Those are just a few of the things I have done as a PA NCO. I really can't tell you what you will be doing as a PA NCO unless I know your commander - cause that is who it will come down to. You may have a commander who is VERY PA proactive and want to go out and do great things. Then...you may have commanders who hate the media and only want to internal operations and not worry about PA...that is very frustrating. I have worked for both.

Ugh...getting WAY ahead of myself, sorry - anyways - but again - as dar said, you may be the ONLY public affairs guy in a brigade - so you may be the only enlisted guy briefing the commander, coming up with mission analysis slides, trying to tell an officer (tactfully) that he is f'ed up by doing something stupid. Its part of the job.

Anyways - sorry this is so long - hope I have answered at least one of your questions.

But the job differs from post to post, from unit to unit.

ANd again, as dar said - networking in this MOS is freakin sweet! I know so many people its not even funny, not only just plain cool people but great business contacts! You will meet so many people that you will not remember everyone. OH, while Im thinking about it, once you DO get to your unit, try and make up some business cards - even if you have to come out of pocket, they are so worth it - anyways, my wife is yelling at me to come and visit, but I wanted to try and at least give some info.

Again, I hope I helped a bit and please let me know if you need more info!

Oh and if you want, sign up for a few of these

Poynter Online Journalist Training
AP Stylebook quiz practice

(Not saying you have to buy one...) AP Stylebook on Amazon

And seriously - if you need any more info - just ask. If we cant answer it, we will find someone who can!
Wow, thanks for all of the info and help that you have given me so far. I am truly looking forward to the challenge and the job. It seems as it it will be something different almost every day, and that is something that I will truly love about the job. I just hate the monotony of doing the same exact thing every single day, over and over again. I know there may be some times that happens in this job, but I am just so looking forward to a change of pace, and I really think that I may have found it.
I'm a 46Q, SSG, as well and can tell you that in the last 11-years it's been a fun job. I've been in some awesome assignments and had the privilege of meeting some amazing Soldiers/friends from the job.

The duty hours tend to change based on your unit. I've been in some units where i was on call for emergencies and also some units where I or one of my Soldiers were required to work after hours to cover a specific event or training.

The biggest takeaway from being a PAO is that you work for your commander and you promote or sometimes defend your unit. You can be called upon to be the spokesman if things go bad (training/vehicle accident etc).

Someone mentioned it earlier in the replies about people leaving alot and it's still true today. You'll be able to network with a lot of local media outlets in your area, so it's not uncommon to see Public Affairs Soldiers transition to those assignment once their current enlistments are over.

If anyone requires further information post away.

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