Public affairs soldier sets example

By J.M. Simpson on January 7, 2022

Sgt. Laurie Wash believes that journalism is a great way to learn valuable lessons and apply them in her role as a non-commissioned officer.

"I think journalism is a great place for people who have a diverse number of interests because it allows you to peek behind the curtain into many professions and learn more," began the public affairs representative of 1st Brigade, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Wash competed in national ballet competitions at six years of age. Since then, she has worked on stage as a professional ballet dancer, in an accounting firm, at a horse rescue facility, in a cat shelter, and for a cheetah rescue organization.

While in high school, she was given the opportunity to volunteer with the Cheetah Conservation Fund and travel to South Africa and Namibia. She also developed a passion for playing chess, and competed in a number of tournaments.

"But I needed something stable in my life," she continued, "and I knew I loved to write. With the idea of wanting to be strong and protect myself in the back of my mind, I joined the Army."

Wash enlisted three-and-a-half years ago to serve as a public affairs mass communication specialist. After training, she was assigned to the 5th MPAD (Mobile Public Relations Detachment) at JBLM.

While with the 5th MPAD Wash has covered the Secretary of the Army, the governors of New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Indiana, Tito and Marlon Jackson of the Jackson 5, and coordinated an interview with retired SEAC John Troxell.

"I have also met people from different countries, like Georgia, Canada and Romania to name a few," she explained.

"While deployed during Atlantic Resolve, I worked with foreign media from Romania and Georgia. I have heard so many stories of people's experiences in the military, and it is pretty fascinating to hear the variety of people's perspectives."

Wash also added that her skills behind a camera have helped her to become a better soldier.

"I was a terrible marksman in basic training," she continued, "but after training with a camera, my marksmanship went from average to expert."

She explained that the characteristics that go into shooting with a camera are similar to those needed to shoot with a weapon.

Wash's hard work with the 5th MPAD recently led to her inter-post transfer to 1st Brigade, 2nd SBCT's public affairs office.

"My time at 1-2 SBCT, while short, has already taught me a lot about working in a brigade," she said. "The immense workload on just an NCOIC and an officer is tough, but it is a challenge I am glad to take on."

She concluded by saying that the present is the time in which soldiers should be the change they wish to see.

"The littlest thing can be that change, whether that is helping out another NCO run a range or helping out a subordinate during a stressful time," Wash said.

"It's not just about daily tasks anymore, it's about understanding operations, perfecting your craft .... The questions that you had as a junior enlisted should be the answers you are finding now."