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Sep 27 2021

A Camouflaged Chimney Sweep - My Internship at JSEC

Yes, you read that correctly – and you are probably just as confused, or surprised, as I was when I heard that.

While I was assisting a video journalist from the British Forces Broadcasting Service in the International School of Ulm, a small boy exclaimed, "Oh look, it's the chimney sweepers!" Presumably, the confusion was caused by the furry microphone on a long stick I was holding – despite the heavy boots and the camouflage suit that should differentiate me from the usually black-clad chimney sweeps, who are, by the way, considered symbols of good luck here in Germany.

This anecdote is exemplary for the diversity of my tasks during my internship at the Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC), certainly not in the facility management, but in the Public Affairs Office.

My name is Julian Pabst, and I am an Officer Designate in the German Army. As a student of Management and Media at the University of the German Armed Forces in Munich, I was given the opportunity to get a practical insight into the work of a media channel, either civilian or military.

Having served for almost five years, I wanted to stay in a military environment and took this chance to broaden my horizon. Therefore, I applied to an International Military Headquarters: the brand new JSEC in Ulm. Experiencing military cooperation on a high level, especially in an international context, was really appealing.
Officer Designate Julian Pabst holds his suspected chimney brush towards an interviewee during a video shoot of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. (JSEC Photo by Senior Airman Bastian Süpple, DEU AF)

After first being struck with loads of abbreviations and folders filled with regulations, I quickly got into it and soon was involved in several projects:

I got to interview freshly arrived international staff officers, researched and wrote about the Berlin Wall fragments on display in the Wilhelmsburg Barracks. I ended up collecting flags with javelin-like flagpoles, which I provided to the command on several occasions. I assisted the British Forces Broadcasting Service and somehow entertained the local youth as a presumed chimney sweep. Finally, I fed the JSEC Instagram account during the Full Operational Capability Event – and ended up as a "chimney sweep" again, this time handling the microphone for the journalists' questions during a hybrid press conference.

During the entire period, I updated distribution lists running to pages until I could not look straight anymore, and kept the command's staff updated with news from around the world each morning.

In summary, I have to say that serving in a Public Affairs Office involves a lot more than reading newspapers and following Twitter, as some might think. It involves a big variety of tasks, challenges and chances, more than expected.

I am glad to have gotten the chance to gain this bundle of experience and to witness JSEC attaining its full readiness at last.

Story by Joint Support and Enabling Command

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