You cannot give a good tour if you do not have a
wealth of command knowledge. For instance, say you
are conducting a tour of your aircraft carrier for a local
community group while in port. A member of the group
asks you to describe the different types of aircraft that
operate from the deck of the carrier. After a long pause,
you say, Well, that information is in your welcome
aboard booklet let me see if I can digit out for you.
Obviously, this is the response of a lazy tour guide.
Your credibility, and that of the command, is at stake
during every tour. If you cannot answer simple questions
without referring to a safety net, your tour group will
be disenchanted. Before the tour, you should know the
mission and history of the command, its hardware,
important statistics, and so on. You can do this by giving
yourself a mock tour and asking yourself probable
questions the day before. Carry a copy of the welcome
aboard booklet and refer to it if you run into any rough
It is easy to describe the demeanor you must have
when you conduct a tour: Act like a public affairs
professional! Be enthusiastic during a tour, but do not
become asocial gadfly. You are giving a tour to explain
the mission and history of your command, not to make
lifelong friends or win a popularity contest.
Another factor that teams with enthusiasm is
patience. Patience comes into play when you try to keep
a large tour group on the tour route. You cannot treat the
group like a herd of cattle; instead, your instructions
must be conveyed in an appropriate tone and
accentuated with plenty of pleases and thank-yous.
Patience also is evident when you are asked a
dumb question. We all know there is no such thing as
a dumb question, but on occasion a tour participant will
ask you a question you think is absurd. For example, it
is not uncommon for a civilian to inquire about your
ribbons and medals or your rating insignia. Sure, you
and the 3,500 crew members on your ship know that a
crossed quill and scroll represents the journalist rating
but that does not mean Mrs. Earwig, a 45-year-old
high school science teacher from Billings, Mont., knows
what it is. In this instance, briefly explain the Navys
occupational fields and rating system with tact and
compassion. If you experience an onslaught of similar
questions during the tour, handle each one in the same
manner, but never vent your frustrations in public.
A tour guide who cannot be heard is of no use to a
tour group. Make sure you project your voice with
authority, especially at airports or around noisy
equipment in the hangar bays. If there is enough money
in your public affairs office budget, purchase a
megaphone or some other type of portable voice
While projecting your voice, you should speak
slowly and clearly so as to increase your chances of
One of your tour participants collapses while you
are explaining the functions of the catapults on the flight
deck. What happens to the rest of the group while you
attend to the ailing person? Who should you call? Where
is the nearest telephone?
Answers to these questions are available in the
command or public affairs instruction that covers the
policies and procedures for public tours. Within this
instruction is a section pertaining to emergencies that
occur on the tour route. You should become familiar
with the entire instruction, but pay particular attention
to the section dealing with contingency responses.
If for some reason this instruction is not available at
your command, seek the guidance of the senior
journalist or the PAO.
You will find more detailed information on tours in
Chapter 4 of PA Regs and in Chapter 1 of the JO 1 & C
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the
procedures for maintaining public affairs
office equipment, in terms of performing basic
user maintenance and inventory.
As a Navy journalist working in a public affairs
office, you will use several pieces of equipment to carry
out your mission efficiently. Although todays tools of
the trade are state-of-the-art and relatively trouble-free,
you must learn the basics of user maintenance to avoid
problems at the most inopportune moments.
NOTE: The maintenance procedures in this section
are rudimentary in nature and are not intended to replace
the more detailed methods contained in owners/
operators manuals. Refer to these manuals for further
equipment maintenance information.