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NEWS | June 5, 2024

A public affairs Soldier's journey to re-enlistment

By Spc. Alexandria Romanack 220th Public Affairs Detachment

When a military contract nears its end, service members have several options. One is reenlistment, which allows them to continue their commitment to service. Recently, the 220th Public Affairs Detachment celebrated the re-enlistment of Cpl. Isaac Copeland, who returns to the unit as a public affairs mass communications specialist.

This is Copeland's first re-enlistment but his second military occupational specialty. He began his career in the U.S. Army with the 125th Infantry Regiment in Saginaw, Michigan, as an 11C, or direct fire infantryman. After his time in the National Guard, he spent some time in the Inactive Ready Reserve. He came out of the IRR into the try-one program, which allowed him to serve in the unit of his choice before potentially returning to the IRR or choosing to reenlist. "Coming into this unit, I really enjoyed it. It was a good unit with people who actually cared," he said with a smile. So, deciding to reclass as a public affairs mass communications specialist with the 220th PAD was an easy choice for him.

On the civilian side, Copeland holds two bachelor's degrees, one in public affairs and one in political science, and is pursuing his master's degree in political communication in Washington, D.C. He is passionate about both his military and civilian careers and aims to secure a job in public affairs after graduation. "Without that experience, you can't get the job, but without the job, you can't get experience," he emphasizes.

He recounted his favorite experience thus far with a wide grin. His favorite experience with the unit was going to Little Caesars Arena for a Detroit Pistons basketball game for Military Appreciation Night. He went on the court during halftime to take pictures of an enlistment ceremony. When the official U.S. Army page posted the photos from that night, he quickly showed his family and friends what he got to do.

Another favorite aspect of his job is documenting moments in soldiers' lives and the cool things they do. "It's one thing to tell your family and friends what you do in the military, and another to be able to show them," Copeland said. For him, it's one of the best feelings to give other soldiers a chance to show what they do every day for a living.

Transitioning from a mortarman to a public affairs mass communications specialist has deepened Copeland's appreciation for his role. "I really wish I would have come in as public affairs, but at the same time, I wouldn't have had that appreciation otherwise," he admitted. "It takes a special kind of person to be in public affairs. We all have a very unique personality. We're all a little bit weird." Copeland's journey highlights the diverse paths within military careers and the value of finding fulfillment in one's role.

Reenlistment allows Soldiers to continue their commitment to service, and Cpl. Copeland is ready to continue gaining knowledge and experience to help in his civilian career and advance in his military career as a public affairs mass communications specialist.