Broadcaster Gears Up for

Second Deployment to Iraq

 

By Sgt. Jody Metzger

128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

Published May 3, 2008

 

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Staff Sgt. Kelly Collett, 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, is currently going through mobilization training at Fort Dix, N.J.

Photo by Sgt. Jody Metzger

Staff Sgt. Kelly Collett, 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, is currently going through mobilization training at Fort Dix, N.J.

FORT DIX, N.J.— Take one combat engineer, mix with broadcast journalist and you might find an interesting combination embodied in a soldier of the 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment of the Utah Army National Guard.

 

Staff Sgt. Kelly Collett is currently undergoing training at Ft. Dix, N.J., for mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Collett will be utilizing his skills as a broadcaster in the public affairs realm. Collett hails from West Valley, Utah, where he lives with his wife and two children.

 

Collett joined the Utah Army National Guard as a combat engineer in 1997. Six years later he was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-2004. The following year, Collett changed his specialty in the military to broadcast journalist with the 128th MPAD.

 

Since then, Collett has had the opportunity to travel twice to Morocco, under Operation African Lion, and then to Asunción, Paraguay, for an annual South American competition, “Fuerzas Commando.”

 

As a combat engineer in Iraq, Collett explained, his mission brought him to the forefront of the Iraq war, embedding him into the dangerous clutches of Iraq insurgents and seeing firsthand the helpless Iraqi civilians who were left behind.

 

“I was focused on improving the infrastructure for the Iraqi people,” said Collett. “We built schools, bridges, soccer fields—anything that we could do to create a better life for the Iraqi people.”

 

“[Soldiers] go out in harm's way, risking their lives for the Iraqi people,” said Collett.  “They sacrifice their time, their family, their jobs back home and they come over here and they give everything they have to be able to make things better for people they don’t even know.”

 

Now, as a broadcaster, Collett finds a facet for his early Iraq experiences affording him a dynamic background of understanding on the hardships combat teams face in the dangers of the Iraq mission.

 

“We want to be able to get that story back to the Soldiers and their families and let them know they are important to the Iraqi mission,” said Collett. “There is a lot of good being done in Iraq, and it is important for the American people to understand.”

 

Sporting his new deployment haircut, broadcast journalist Staff Sgt. Kelly Collett talks about his upcoming deployment to Iraq.

Photo by Sgt. Jody Metzger

Sporting his new deployment haircut, broadcast journalist

Staff Sgt. Kelly Collett talks about his upcoming deployment to Iraq.

Looking at what the next year will bring, Collett talked about his hopes and he anticipates a year of on-hand broadcasting experience, allowing him to further establish himself with the unit.

 

 “I am looking forward to the mission in Iraq,” said Collett. “I want to be able to hone my craft and glean what I can from the experienced Soldiers in my unit.”

 

Maj. Lorraine Januzelli, commander of the 128th MPAD, pays great homage to Collett’s hard work ethic as a leader as well as his creative insight as a broadcast journalist.

 

Januzelli describes Collett as a “very professional, conscientious and busy person.” Since joining the unit in early November, a short 15 days before the mobilization alert, Januzelli remarked that she was pleasantly surprised by his leadership abilities and counts him as an important entity with the unit.

 

“He brings a lot of skills to the mission, he is both creative and tactically proficient and will be an asset to us,” said Januzelli.

 

As a broadcaster, Januzelli explains, he is able to capture a situation and bring it to life and make it vivid and alive.  

Nearly five weeks after arriving at Ft. Dix mobilization training, Collett finds that the training here has been difficult but important for the Soldiers of his unit.

 

The mobilization process has been hard, explained Collett, but it is vital for the success of the mission.

 

“A lot of the mission has been really good here. I think it is important to remember that everyone is a Soldier first. We need to be able to be rifleman first and understand and operate the weapon systems that we carry around with us.”