| 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
First Female Takes Command of Previously All-Male Unit
Posted: 2014-09-18 09:30 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn.- "I'm just another Soldier; it doesn't matter that I'm a female," said Capt. Tara Robertson.
Robertson's soft-spoken words were amplified by her appointment to command an all-male combat engineer unit.
On September 14, the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company, a Minnesota Army National Guard unit based in Litchfield, not only received its first female commander, but it also officially cased its colors, signifying its separation from the 682nd Engineer Battalion. With new colors and new leadership, the 849th has been restructured into Company B, 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division.
MNARNG wins top environmental award
Posted: 2014-09-17 01:17 PM
Little Falls, MN (mcrecord.com) --- Pitted against every branch of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Minnesota Army National Guard's (MNARNG) environmental team won the top environmental award, Aug. 27. The team was presented the 2014 Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Environmental Quality by an Individual Team.
The Honorable Katherine Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army, installations, energy and environment, and Adjutant General Richard Nash presented the award to the team.
Minnesota brothers reunite in Kuwait
Posted: 2014-09-16 12:00 AM
CAMP BUERHING, Kuwait- "I didn't know if our paths would cross," said Sgt. 1st Class Lowell Laudert as he sat with his brother, Spc. Cameron Laudert.
The brothers, both from Monticello, Minn., are deployed together in support of Operation Enduring Freedom-Kuwait. They serve in separate units and components of the U.S. Army.