In a major event, you must designate someone to
coordinate public affairs matters. This person should be
relatively free of other duties. If the event involves
operations, operational and public affairs planning
should be carried on together, with the public affairs
aspects covered in an annex to the operation order. If the
event is a major one ashore, one command directive
probably will include all details, including public
affairs, security and logistics.
The fifth major step is to evaluate the event. This
step is as important in public affairs as an exercise
critique is in operations. The JO, with his media skills
and public information know-how, is an ideal person to
help the command and the PAO evaluate special events.
After each such event, before you get deeply involved
in the next event, try to answer the following questions:
Did this event accomplish its objectives? If so,
why? If not, why not?
Did everyone know just what his duties were and
carry them out properly?
What, if anything, could have been done that was
What kind of media coverage did we get? Did
this event help or hurt media relations,
community relations or internal relations?
How can we do it better next year?
In a major event, it is appropriate for the coordi-
nating command to request formal or informal reports
from subordinate commands. It is always a good idea to
check with participants, the photo lab, media people
who covered the event and anyone else who was
concerned to find out what was done well and how
certain areas can be made to run more smoothly.
Evaluation is useless unless it is committed to paper.
Therefore, the final step is to prepare the report(s). This
should always be done unless it is obviously
unnecessary. Your report can be a memo to the CO
attaching a clipping from the local paper, or it can be a
letter to higher authority enclosing copies of your plans,
clippings and photographs. In either case, the primary
purpose of such reports is to show what has been
accomplished and to submit recommendations for
future similar events. Reports that do nothing but pat you
on the back and tell your superiors what a wonderful job
you did are worthless.
SPECIAL EVENTS CHECKLIST
Appendix VII of this manual contains a general
special events checklist. Study the entire checklist
before you use it for specific occasions. After study, you
may prepare your own checklist, using pertinent items
and adding others of your own choosing.
Identify the special events
planning guidelines for military ceremonies.
Let us go back a few pages to that awards ceremony
where the skipper is going to pin a Good Conduct Medal
on that BM2s chest. We will assume there are five petty
officers receiving various awards: two Good Conduct
Medals, one advancement to first class petty officer, one
appointment to chief petty officer and one Letter of
Appreciation to a chief transferring to the Fleet Reserve.
The CO wants to present these awards and promotion
certificates Friday morning after inspection. The PAO is
TAD and you are responsible for coverage, plus any
arranging the event requires.
This is a very simple event. The crew will be
paraded at quarters. If you are ashore and have a bit of
room, all hands may pass in review as part of the
ceremony. You probably have a small platform and you
will need a public address system.
What are your objectives? The CO wants to praise
these individuals publicly by rewarding them for good
service and to encourage the nonrated men in the crew
to work for advancement. This means your plans should
ensure the following:
The skipper makes each award individually and
speaks to each man.
The crew can hear, and if possible, see what is
The event is covered by the ship or station
The releases are mailed to hometown media (via
the Fleet Home Town News Center or the proper
This is easy. You send one of your junior JOs to the
personnel office for the names and locations of the
individuals concerned. He then gets basic hometown
data on each, supplementing this with an interview to
make sure he does not miss any good feature material.