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NEWS | Aug. 28, 2020

The storyteller’s story: An afternoon with an Army Reserve public affairs officer

By Maj. Dino DE LA HOYA 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

Annual training (AT) is a special part of an Army Reserve Soldier’s career. They perform their monthly battle training assemblies (BTA) then culminate their efforts during AT. This opportunity usually affords the Soldier some field experience, where they execute their required tasks and maintain overall readiness and lethality.

Behind the scenes, the public affairs officer or unit public affairs representative captures those efforts in a variety of products. You see it all over social media; photography, videos, short stories, all part of that storytelling fabric. This allows the American public to see what their sons and daughters are doing while at training, as they prepare for possible operations in the homeland or overseas.

Capt. Angelina Cillo is one of those public affairs officers, currently assigned to the 649th Regional Support Group out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She travels monthly from Colorado to Iowa, where she leverages her military public affairs skills with those of her civilian employment. Originally a signal officer, she pursued public affairs to match closer to her media production college education.

Cillo is a radio talk show producer with iHeartRadio in Aurora, Colorado. She works on everything from building radio programs on multiple stations, runs AM and FM shows, and is the jockey that talks between songs and commercials. She implements a lot of leadership skills from the Army such as time management, operations, synchronization, combined with her creative skills that round out her role as a citizen- Soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Cillo loves serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. She commanded the 207th Public Affairs Detachment and now tells the Army story for all Soldiers assigned to the 649th Regional Support Group.

“I love capturing what our Soldiers do while at battle training assembly or annual training,” Cillo says. “Soldiers appreciate seeing their photos on social media, they get excited, and it builds esprit de corps within the team.”

She highly recommends the career field for both the officer and enlisted realms. The ability to tell the Army story via photo, video, social media, allows for a unique role within the Army system. She will continue to work behind the scenes, focusing on her Soldiers and what they bring to the fight.

“Don’t be afraid to be creative,” Cillo says. “The Army has a lot of parameters but find the angle to your story. Soldiers will appreciate it and inspire them to continue doing great things.”

Cillo will continue to hone her craft as she prepares for a deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility later this year.