DVIDS – News – Speak softly and carry a big camera: Sgt. 1st Class Terysa King goes from telling the Army story to making her own international headlines
Sgt. 1st Class Terysa King takes one for the team, as she answers questions from a specialist with a video camera. King, who is 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Public Affairs operations noncommissioned officer, is infinitely more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. But she agreed to the interview because it was a good training opportunity for her junior soldier, and her most recent mission made international headlines.
Describing how she ended up sharing pea soup and conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was a good plug for the profession she loves—U.S. Army public affairs.
King, who hails from Norfolk, Virginia, has bachelor’s degree in journalism and is currently working on a master’s degree in marketing. She began her Army career 15 years ago to pursue education and gain real-world experience.
“I originally joined the Army to pay for college,” said King. Growing up as a self-described “Navy brat” nurtured a passion for adventure, and she believed a career in the Army would also help her see the world. She has not been disappointed.
In addition to being stationed in various U.S. states, including Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland, King was deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her overseas assignments include Italy, Korea and Germany, and missions have taken her to Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania and multiple countries in Europe including Romania, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands.
She is currently stationed at 21st TSC headquarters in Kaiserslautern, Germany where she works with public affairs professionals from ally and partner countries, coordinating and supporting media events and coverage of joint exercises and missions. In October 2023, she worked with the German Bundeswehr to support an all-day capabilities demonstration highlighting interoperability between German and U.S. Soldiers for Scholz and German media. When it was time for lunch, the Bundeswehr asked King to “take a picture” with Scholz.
“I was not expecting to be asked to sit next to him,” said King. “Because as public affairs I’m working behind the scenes. I’m used to being behind the camera. So, when they told me, ‘You are going to have lunch with the German chancellor and take pictures,’ I was like, ‘Cool’.
“Then I sit down, and he comes around, and sits right next to me. And then I look up and there’s all these cameras in front of me.”
King said the Chancellor sensed her surprise and put her at ease right away.
“In order to break the tension, he said, ’Just pretend they’re not there’. That made everybody a little bit more comfortable. I can honestly say that it was one of the coolest things I’ve experienced so far being here and probably in my entire military career, because how often do you get the chance to sit with someone of that importance? To literally break bread with him and eat a traditional German meal with him. I can’t think of many other vocations where you get that opportunity,” said King.
King’s softspoken nature is an asset in her work, putting interview subjects at ease and allowing her to document missions with minimum notice—ensuring Soldiers are focused on their mission and not distracted by her presence.
According to King, her mission, as a public affairs specialist, is to tell the Army story by showcasing her fellow Soldiers.
“It helps the world see the bigger picture of what we do,” said King. “And it’s also a morale boost. When I take pictures of other Soldiers, and they’re interacting with each other and our allies and our partners, I see them light up and it makes all the hard work that we do worth it. It is great seeing the interoperability between the U.S. Army and our partners.”
King said her decision to join the Army was the best decision she has ever made. She would tell anyone who is interested in joining the Army or pursuing a public affairs career to prepare to be challenged.
“You’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone,” said King. “But it’s definitely worth it.”
Making international headlines and being the subject of a Soldier spotlight was definitely out of King’s comfort zone. But consistent with her humble nature, she did what had to be done to tell this Army story.
|KAISERSLAUTERN, RP, DE
|NORFOLK, VA, US
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