dated when events unfold quickly; as time went on,
the chop chain grew longer as more people
demanded to have a chop.
I strongly urge all PAOs to know your ship, the
key players on your ship and other PAOs in the area.
Most important, know how to optimize your staff or
else no one will help you juggle the feathers in a
The things that went well included the
. We gained instant credibility by inviting the
media on board for a highly effective media
availability within 30 minutes of returning to
. The prepared adverse news release format
was entered in the computer before getting under
. An accurate sequence of events was kept and
double-checked against the damage control central
log before it was included in the press kit.
l We had enough command welcome
aboard pamphlets, 5- by 7-inch black-and-white
photos of the ship, biographies and pictures of the
CO and embarked admiral for the press kits.
. After the initial confusion, we maintained a
close, working relationship with the intelligence
officers who wrote OPREP-3s.
. We recorded almost two hours of raw video
footage. Video footage of the damaged spaces was
used by two investigative boards and the Naval
Investigative Service. The footage of the mass
casualties and Medevac was used by Navy News
This Week and will be used by medical personnel
. Damage control diagrams that highlight the
damaged spaces and their locations were
reproduced for visual presentation. The large
diagrams were displayed on an easel and copies
were included in the press kits.
. A Japanese interpreter from COMNAV-
FORJAPAN enhanced communications at the
bilingual media availability.
. All casualties were flown off the ship before
arrival in Yokosuka.
The lessons learned from the USS Midway
disaster included the following:
. Make sure
all press releases are sent via
. Make sure the XO, CO, chief of staff of the
embarked flag staff and admiral approve the
. Make sure press releases are not sent before
. Include only biographies of the speakers at
the media availability in the press kits.
. Establish contacts and good relations with
operations and intelligence personnel before an
incident takes place.
Lt. Cmdr. John Tull of the Navy Office of
Information (NAVINFO) New England gives the
following account of the public affairs actions taken
after Hurricane Hugo:
Hugo Who? is a popular expression in
Charleston, South Carolina, now that recovery and
restoration efforts are gradually reestablishing
normal lifestyles, but make no mistake about it:
During the night of September 21, 1989, and
extending into the early morning hours of
September 22, Hurricane Hugo had the undivided
attention a Category Five hurricane demands.
For the Navy in Charleston, Hugos impact was
described as devastating, which in terms of
facilities, equipment and water damageinitially
estimated at 0 millionit was. However, it could
have been far worse in terms of loss of life and
injuries. Fortunately, no fatalities or serious injuries
involving active-duty forces or their families
occurred during the storm.
On the public affairs front, response to
Hugo-related needs provided some valuable
learning experiences for PAOs. From those
experiences came various observations and lessons
learned, including the following:
l Navy Family Information Center and Hot
LineEstablishment of a Navy Family Information
Center and Hot Line at the Charleston Naval
Hospital on September 23 proved very useful in
recovery efforts by providing information on
services available, getting tiger teams to families in
need, disseminating information on the return of