| 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 National Guard and central Minnesota communities honor Memorial Day together
Posted: 2015-05-22 11:44 AM
CAMP RIPLEY - Garrison staff of Camp Ripley and other members of the Minnesota National Guard will take part in events this weekend honoring those who died in service to the United States.
"As members of the local community, we are honored to participate in Memorial Day events," said Lt. Col. Chad Sackett, deputy garrison commander at Camp Ripley. "It is right and fitting that we recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of those who died in service to our nation."
Minnesota National Guard members are speaking at events throughout the Memorial Day weekend. For those interested in attending a Memorial Day ceremony, here are a few of the listings for central Minnesota:
Fort Hood shooting victim's family receives posthumous Purple Heart medal
Posted: 2015-05-22 08:00 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - More than five years after Pfc. Kham See Xiong lost his life in a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, the Xiong family received his Purple Heart in a Ceremony during Hmong American Day in St. Paul, Minn.
"Kham was an American Solider, a Hmong-American who raised his right hand and swore to defend the constitution of the United States, a Hero," said keynote speaker Brig. Gen. Kent D. Savre, Fort Leonard Wood commanding general. Savre served as commander of the 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Hood during the attack.
Four hundred members of the Hmong and St. Paul community crowded into the Harriet Island Pavilion as rain fell, May 14, 2015, to witness the Purple Heart Ceremony.
148th Fighter Wing Excels at Combat Hammer
Posted: 2015-05-21 03:44 PM
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah - Approximately 180 Airmen and Block 50 F-16's from the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. participated in an exercise known as Combat Hammer while at Hill AFB, Utah in early May 2015. Combat Hammer is a Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) that evaluates weapon systems in their entirety.
While the exercise was about a week long for most 148FW Airmen, it was quite a bit longer for those Airmen actually building the bombs and missiles. "Typically, we are one of the first assets to show up at a deployment," said 2nd Lt. Mylii Pukema, 148FW Munitions Officer. "We show up about a week before most everyone else, so we can build up the weapons and have them ready when the jets arrive."
"It's a common misconception that weapons come already built," said Pukema. "Different weapons have different levels of configuration that have to happen. It can be a lot of detail that goes into configuring a weapon or it can be relatively simple, it just depends on the mission."
148FW Munition's Airmen were evaluated from the time the weapon came out of the box. How they practiced safety and followed tech data during the building of the weapon were key components to the evaluation process.
Red Bulls Welcome New Command Sergeant Major
Posted: 2015-05-17 10:38 AM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - Soldiers and family members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division gathered at the division headquarters Sunday, May 17, 2015 to witness the change of responsibility of the Division command sergeant major.
"We are here to say thank you and farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Joel Arnold and welcome Command Sgt. Maj. John Lepowsky as the new command sergeant major of the 34th Infantry Division," said Brig. Gen. Benjamin Corell, assistant division commander of maneuver.
According to General Baron Friedrich von Steuben, inspector general of the Continental Army in 1779, "The choice of non-commissioned officers is an object of greatest importance: The order and discipline of a regiment depends so much on their behavior, that too much care cannot be taken in preferring none to that trust but those who by their merit and good conduct are entitled to it."