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
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.”
Photo by Sgt. Jody Metzger
Sporting his new deployment haircut, broadcast
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
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.”