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Home : News : News Features
NEWS | Aug. 25, 2016

National Guard allows Soldier freedom to be Renaissance man

By Maj. Elizabeth M. Griffith 206th Broadcast Operations Detachment

MUSCATATUCK, Ind. - Master Sgt. Bradley Staggs, an Indiana National Guard Soldier with the 38th Infantry Division, is a trained broadcast noncommissioned officer, and that is where his military and civilian careers have intertwined. Staggs’ interest in broadcasting started at a very young age at the county fair in his home town of Rockville, Ind. Staggs remembers when the local radio station, WAXI, brought their entire studio to the county fair. The local Disc Jockey’s would let him hang around for hours, asking questions and watching them play records but only after he’d agreed to run and get show results for them to air on the radio.

Staggs’ interest continued to grow as he recalls playing DJ on his Sears record player with a stack of 45’s at his family’s farm-house. He was such a fan of radio that he thought WKRP in Cincinnati, a sitcom about a failing radio station which aired from 1978 to 1982, was the greatest thing on television.

Broadcasting has been a part of Staggs’ life since he was a teenager. “My first radio job was pushing the buttons on the sound board during a basketball game,” Staggs said.

The first stop for Staggs’ military career wasn’t Army broadcasting, however… he spent his first three years of military service in the Air Force during the cold war, first at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and then Sembach Air Base in what was then West Germany. Staggs made the self-proclaimed “stupidest decision of my life” and left the military. After a 14 year hiatus, Staggs joined the Indiana National Guard and was given the opportunity to attend the Defense Information School where he was awarded the 46Q and 46R military occupational specialties (MOS) as a Public Affairs and Broadcast Specialist. As a master sergeant, Staggs holds the 46Z designation.

It was during his 14 year break in service that Staggs became interested in writing, publishing, and acting. To date, he has published a comic book series entitled "The Traveler’s Pub," a novel titled "Ashmadai" which he and his co-writer finished while deployed to Kosovo with the 29th Infantry Division, and is currently working on two more novels. He has also written several stage and screen plays and does voice overs for video games and books on tape.

Being in the National Guard has afforded Staggs the time to pursue his other hobby…. acting. He has worked with productions for the History and Discovery Channels and works regularly on small budget productions such as the MagicHouse Productions film Rock N’ Roll Starship, a science-fiction spoof in which he plays science officer Jeorge Jett-Sonn. The sequel, Starship II: Rendezvous with Ramses, is in post-production where he reprised his role with special guest star John Astin, the original Gomez Addams from television’s The Addams Family, appearing as Professor Peabody.

Staggs works full-time for the Indiana National Guard at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Ind., a whole-of-government, whole-of-nation training site which can represent a city in a failed state anywhere in the world. First responders, government personnel, and military personnel from around the world train at Muscatatuck for a fully immersive, realistic training environment. He often participates in the training exercises by taking on a public affairs role, posing as local media or training Soldiers on broadcast studio equipment.

Exercise News Day, the first public affairs exercise of its kind, utilized Muscatatuck as its base of operations during the summer of 2016. U.S. Army Reserve Public Affairs Soldiers were trained by Staggs on radio station operations and radio story production during every iteration of END.

Just like everybody who works at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Staggs has numerous responsibilities. He is also the Muscatatuck museum coordinator which contains the history of the area dating back to 1919. “When this facility was a state-run mental hospital, it was the largest employer in the area. We want to make sure that history isn’t lost and that our neighbors know that we remember where this all came from,” Staggs said.

If the Muscatatuck Museum is his love, the Radio Muscatatuck is Staggs’ joy. The radio station broadcasts locally on 102.3 FM and is used to disperse information and create a one-of-a-kind training venue for broadcasters from all services. He built both from the ground up, but uses the sound-proofed studio of the radio station to feel at home.

“I think people who really want to be in this profession, people who want to be journalists, [who] want to be 46 series folks, want to do it no matter what,” Staggs continued, talking of his love for his job. “No matter what else is going on, they do it.”

Staggs loves everything about public affairs and has this advice, “I tell young Soldiers all the time if you don’t love doing this job, if this isn’t the job you want, then find another job. Find another MOS because this job, this MOS, will consume you. It will take all of your time….if you’re doing it right.”