| 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
Minnesota Guard leaders inducted into Court of Honor
Posted: 2015-10-07 11:02 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Seven retired members of the Minnesota National Guard were recognized before their fellow service members as they were inducted into the Court of Honor, Oct. 4, 2015, at Camp Ripley.
"It is our pleasure to have the opportunity to recognize these select leaders who have served our communities, state and nation with distinction," said Col. John Kolb, chief of staff for Joint Force Headquarters.
The Memorialization Board selects individuals for their service to the Minnesota National Guard as well as continued service to their communities. The board reviews the nominations received and forwards their recommendations to the Minnesota Adjutant General for approval. These inductees join the names of more than 300 others, since 1933, who have demonstrated their unwavering dedication, loyalty and distinguished service to the Minnesota National Guard.
Willmar National Guard Unit Set To Deploy
Posted: 2015-10-05 11:04 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2015
More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion will deploy for an eleven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
"The deploying Soldiers of the 682nd Engineer Battalion are eager to begin the deployment to Kuwait. This will be the first deployment for two-thirds of the unit, they are ready to create their own deployment experience," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander.
"Our battalion will be part of Task Force Wild in Kuwait. As a Minnesota hockey fan that is pretty cool. Our battalion has the mission of managing engineer sustainment operations throughout the Middle East, meaning we manage road and building infrastructure maintenance for coalition forces," said Ferdon.
Minnesota combat medic training center named for famous WWII nurse
Posted: 2015-10-05 09:26 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard on Sunday dedicated its new combat medical training center in honor of Brainerd-native and famous WWII nurse Hortense McKay. She is the first female soldier to have a building named for her at Camp Ripley.
The Medical Simulation Training Center, which opened in May of 2014, specializes in training soldiers how to treat wartime wounded. It caters both to soldiers whose main role is being a combat medic (called "68Ws" in Army parlance) and to regular frontline soldiers looking to learn rudimentary lifesaving skills. Eventually, staff hope to train 2,500 people a year in the art of repairing bodies broken by combat.
Like the rest of Camp Ripley, the MSTC puts soldiers through the most stressful testing simulation possible. Strobe lights and loudspeakers recreate the distracting stimuli of combat, and the mannequins soldiers operate on display gruesome wounds that spew blood.
Last 133rd Airlift Wing Vietnam-Era Veteran Retires
Posted: 2015-09-30 01:56 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Master Sgt. Michael Stephen Phillips, the last Vietnam-era veteran to actively serve in the 133rd Airlift Wing, was honored for his 35 years of service at a retirement ceremony at the 133rd's dining facility, Aug. 23, 2015.
An 18-year-old Phillips first joined the active-duty Air Force on Sep. 18, 1973, as a security police specialist and was stationed at the 148th Fighter Wing (when it was still an active duty base) in Duluth. Following a seven-year break in service after his initial four-year enlistment ended, Phillips' wife saw an ad on television for a special program in the National Guard, prompting his return to service.
"Back then they had what was called the Try-1 program for prior active duty members to join the Guard. It allowed you to sign up for a year and see if you liked it," said Phillips. "If it didn't work out, you could get out, and if it did ... well, I ended up staying for another 31 years!"