Long-time Fort Lewis public affairs specialist Joe Hitt deals out one last plateful of dish before retiring Friday.
Joe Hitt called it a career Friday after 17 years at the Fort Lewis public affairs office.
That’s a lot of “no comments.”
Hey, we kid. Joe almost never said that – far less often, for sure, than he got dumb questions from the likes of me.
The relationship between reporters and PAOs is by its nature adversarial, but Joe didn’t lose his cool when a reporter – this one, anyway – got testy. He didn’t kill you with war stories. He preferred it if you did all the talking. He was old school; you had to remember to ask all the questions, or you might miss something.
His tenure at Lewis was preceded by three years as a civilian public affairs officer in Germany, and 24 years before that as an active-duty Army public affairs NCO. He retired as a master sergeant in 1988. He’s the proud father of an Army lieutenant colonel who’s on his way back for a second teaching stint at West Point.
At Lewis he’s worked through nine lieutenant colonels who’ve been the post and I Corps PAO, and through a dozen commanding generals or acting commanding generals. For most of those years he was the guy who answered the phone when reporters from around the region, or across the country, called to ask some questions.
As people followed the news about Fort Lewis, “it’s a good chance they were reading what Joe Hitt said about it,” said J.C. Mathews, the Fort Lewis public affairs officer.
Hitt said he had his differences with folks over the years, but “telling the Army’s story to the public was the only thing that was important.”