SUU graduate deployed as combat journalist documents historical WWII reenactments in France

CEDAR CITY — During his military career, Utah National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Tim Beery has seen parts of the world that many only dream of. Although the reasons he travels to destinations far away are far from leisurely.

Utah National Guard 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment troops mingle with locals in northern France to commemorate D-Day, June 3, 2024 | Photo courtesy of US Special Operations Command Europe, St. George News

“I joined in 2008, deployed to Afghanistan the first time in 2010 and the second time in 2018,” Beery told Cedar City News. “I’ve also had missions in Morocco, Korea, Belize, Texas for Hurricane Harvey relief, the Utah State Capitol following Jan. 6 and Ghana.”

As part of the Utah National Guard 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Beery spoke to Cedar City News from Germany where the battalion is currently supporting United States Special Operations Command Europe troops.

As part of the special operations, the European command team works with partnering forces to “counter malignant influences, build interoperability and respond rapidly if necessary to defeat aggression.”

“We’ve sent our soldiers to almost 20 total countries this deployment,” Beery said. “In this rotation, I’ve personally worked in Germany, Albania, Greece, Poland, Sweden and France.”

One of the more memorable events of his lifetime deployments was documenting the 80th anniversary of D-Day from Normandy, France the first week of June.

Members of the Utah National Guard 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment document paratroopers reenacting the end of World War II in northern France to commemorate D-Day, June 3, 2024 | Photo courtesy of US Special Operations Command Europe, St. George News

“There was a jump that we covered with 1,300 paratroopers in the sky,” Beery said of the World War II reenactments that occurred throughout the week.

“We had a big role in documenting the D-Day commemorations and celebrations, there around 200 events taking place that week,” he added.

Beery has been deployed as a public affairs specialist and combat journalist during his military career. In his “civilian life,” the Southern Utah University graduate is employed in public relations.

“In Afghanistan, I collected interviews and created news packages about an Infantry Brigade Combat Team,” Beery said. “On most of the other missions, I’ve written stories, created videos, taken photos and assisted civilian media.”

While working toward the rank of sergeant first class, Beery recalled hot days in extreme desert climates and, at times, in hostile conditions, where leaves off of military bases were a rarity.

During his latest military trip, the one thing that remained the same as his previous deployments was his longing for home. As the Utah National Guard unit assists European forces in training, Beery said the perks are better, but “it’s a challenge leaving home.”

Members of the Utah National Guard 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment on Utah Beach in northern France to commemorate D-Day, June 3, 2024 | Photo courtesy of US Special Operations Command Europe, St. George News

“As my career has advanced, I am less of a content gatherer and more of a mentor and approval authority for my guys,” Beery said. “I work as an editor mostly here in Europe, though I have had the chance to write a number of feature stories.”

Another benefit of this deployment is the ability to add to his resume, Beery said. He is taking advantage of the Army’s educational benefits and becoming certified as a home and building inspector — a skill he can also use after returning home.

“I haven’t started doing inspections yet, but I plan to as a side project,” he said.

Born in Idaho and residing in northern Utah for most of his life, Beery grew up in Sandy and graduated from Hillcrest High School.

It was his second attempt attending Southern Utah University that he found the drive and passion he currently has for storytelling.

Both the hands-on experiences and unsolicited advice from professors are just some of the memories Beery has of his time on campus.

Call Rollins (left), KSUU-FM Station Manager, speaks with Sgt. Dave McIntyre (right) about the debate for Iron County Sheriff at SUU on Oct. 23, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

“The person who helped me the most at SUU was Cal Rollins,” Beery said. “He trusted me to run the radio station and empowered me to make decisions — his mentorship was huge.”

Other help he received came from two professors, both influential with their nonverbal actions, Beery said.

“The others I would mention are Dr. Paul Husselbee and Dr. Kevin Stein,” he said. “Husselbee cared deeply about his students and didn’t let anyone tell him anything. Stein worked with me on my master’s thesis and later became a good friend.”

Beery noted the assistance of former SUU professor Ellen Treanor, who later became “a trusted friend” who provided job references as he transitioned into both his military and professional careers.

As well as his time spent managing the college radio station, Beery was awarded the SUU Communications Radio Student of the Year in 2014 and SUU Communications Overall Student of the Year in 2015.

As part of the Utah National Guard 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Sgt. 1st Class Tim Beery was recently in northern France to commemorate D-Day, June 3, 2024 | Photo courtesy of US Special Operations Command Europe, St. George News

He also worked as a news anchor and producer on SUTV 9 and SUU ThunderVision, which broadcast Thunderbird sporting events to fans online through streaming services.

As it has been five years since his last Utah Shakespeare Festival play, Beery said he hopes to return to Cedar City soon after his current deployment.

Right after another plane ride to Maryland for a family trip.

“It felt like a community and you don’t get that as much in the big city,” Beery said.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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