| 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
US Army Social Media Handbook
US 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
Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident
Posted: 2017-02-22 09:59 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.
As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.
"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."
To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter
Posted: 2017-02-21 01:25 PM
HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.
It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.
"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."
Norwegian youth train with Minnesota National Guard
Posted: 2017-02-16 10:52 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. -Youth of the Norwegian Home Guard experienced some of Minnesota culture along with focused military style training during the first week of NOREX 2017.
The U.S.--Norway reciprocal Troop Exchange, which began Feb. 9, 2017, annually swaps approximately 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard and a like number of Norwegian Home Guard soldiers as well as youths to experience each other's training, military lifestyle and most importantly, culture.
"It's rewarding interacting with more young people eager to learn about a new lifestyle and culture," said Capt. Brett Farniok, Youth Platoon Officer-in-Charge.
Warmly welcomed, U.S. contingent arrives in Norway for NOREX 44
Posted: 2017-02-12 01:38 PM
CAMP VAERNES, Norway - Following a muster at the 133rd Airlift Wing and an eight-hour overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean, nearly 100 Soldiers and Airmen with the Minnesota National Guard finally arrived in Norway to conduct the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange on Feb. 9, 2017.
While the U.S.-based Soldiers were warmly greeted by members of the Norwegian Home Guard at Camp Vaernes, a similarly-sized group of Norwegian Home Guard members were received at Camp Ripley Training Center. The arrival of military members from both countries to their host nations formally began the annual exchange, which provides a unique opportunity for individuals to become fully-immersed in foreign military and social culture.
"Though I didn't know what to expect before getting here, they have been very welcoming," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor Hanson, a member of the 148th Fighter Wing. "They are making sure we had everything."