| Social media offers many benefits, but Guard members must remain aware of its risks
ARLINGTON, Va., (3/6/2014) - The use of social media has made it easier for many to stay connected to friends and family. It often provides the opportunities to give near instant communications via text or images and can help ease stresses when Service members are deployed. The benefits of social media are nearly endless and often far reaching.
"Social media spreads news faster than any other media," said Chief Master Sgt. Mitchell Brush, the senior enlisted advisor for the chief, National Guard Bureau, on his Facebook page, adding "it empowers us to effect change and do good on a community, state, national or even international level."
But while there are many benefits of social media, there are sometimes dangerous ramifications if used inappropriately. The use of social media can often have unintended consequences and in some cases, end military careers.
Even things that may be part of an inside joke among friends, may have a larger meaning or significance when the uniform is worn. Guard members must avoid offensive and inappropriate behavior that could bring discredit upon themselves and the National Guard. This includes posting any defamatory, libelous or obscene material.
"You represent the National Guard in cyberspace just as you do in the real world," said Brush, adding "the same military bearing is expected of you here as we expect on the street."
To educate Soldiers and Airmen of the use of social media, both the Army and Air Force have each published a social media handbook which gives guidance for Guardmembers on the use of the medium.
"You are personally responsible for what you say and post on social networking services and any other medium," according to the Air Force Social Media Guide. In addition, "if you have doubts about whether you should post something, err on the side of caution."
The Army Social Media Handbook provides similar guidance for Soldiers.
"Soldiers using social media must abide by the Uniform Code of Military Justice at all times. Commenting, posting or linking to material that violates the UCMJ or basic rules of Soldier conduct is prohibited," adding "it is important that all Soldiers know that once they log on to a social media platform, they still represent the Army."
Even if personal settings are set to private, posted items may not stay private as those who have been granted access can share those postings with others.
According to the Army Social Media Handbook, acceptable postings include pride and support for service, links to published articles about a unit or any information that is already public domain is acceptable.
Prohibited postings include specific unit movement information, gossip, or anything that would represent the military in a bad light.
Guard members should not release personal identifiable information that could be used to distinguish their individual identity or that of another Service member.
Further information and guidance can be obtained by following the Air Force and Army Social Media handbook links below.
U.S. Army Social Media Handbook
U.S. Air Force Social Media Handbook
Behavior in or out of uniform must reflect our shared values and those of our parent services at all times.
By Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker
National Guard Bureau
34th Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers coming home
Posted: 2015-05-01 09:26 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2015
ST. PAUL, Minn.-
The second half of the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade's Headquarters Company and 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion are returning home from a year-long deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom-Kuwait and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq on Saturday morning.
More than 110 Soldiers will be bussed to the Army Aviation Support Facility #1, 206 Airport Road, St. Paul, Minn., at approximately 8:45 a.m. on Saturday.
These Minnesota units conducted aviation operations and security cooperation activities at the direction of U.S. Central Command. Their mission expanded to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the military effort to combat emerging militant groups, in September.
Minnesota National Guard officer, enlisted meet for annual conferences
Posted: 2015-05-01 08:01 AM
The 110th General National Guard Association of Minnesota Conference had nearly 300 officers, warrant officers and their guests in attendance. Events included a Friday alumni dinner, a business meeting and a formal banquet in Minnetonka last weekend.
Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, National Guard Association president, brought association news from Washington D.C. to the group. He said the association is working to educate elected officials of the problems of a budget that would reduce end strength by 8,200 for the Army National Guard. Their focus is on structure, end strength and full time manning.
"We'll lose 1,726 man days, 1,100 technicians and 600 AGRs," said Hargett.
STARBASE Minnesota celebrates 50,000 students served
Posted: 2015-04-30 08:11 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - 50,000 students have walked through STARBASE Minnesota's doors since it opened in 1993. STARBASE continues to educate and inspire youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through exciting, innovative programming at the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing.
Muhamed "Robo Knight" Come, a 4th grader at Frost Lake Elementary school, became the 50,000th STARBASE student to graduate from the program on April 28, 2015. He and his 80 classmates were surprised with virtual fireworks and balloons falling from the ceiling marking this milestone.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Wong, the volunteer guest speaker at the event heard from students as they described how they designed, 3D printed and tested their rocket prototypes and learned how to program rovers as they planned their journey to Mars. In return, Lt. Col. Wong shared how he uses STEM in the Minnesota Air National Guard and how important education is to achieving goals.
Minnesota National Guard assists with avian influenza response
Posted: 2015-04-29 12:40 PM
The Minnesota State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) called on the National Guard to deliver water for use in the disease containment effort as part of the state's response to avian influenza.
More than 40 National Guard soldiers and 15 military water trucks from the Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion and the Brooklyn Park-based Company A, 134th Brigade Support Battalion are being used in the mission. Large amounts of water are needed in foaming systems being used as part of the depopulation efforts, to control further spread of avian influenza virus.
"Any time that we can fill a gap by providing services like this, it is a positive thing for the guard," said Capt. Adam Riedel, the command and control officer-in-charge for this activation.