If you've ever wondered whether deployed soldiers are allowed to blog, the answer is a resounding, "YES." There were a lot of issues with blogs and social media at first, but at some point the military realized that if you can't beat 'em, you might want to join 'em, and that they can be a great way for deployed soldiers to stay in contact with loved ones, and also to share information with future would-be soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, or coasties.
The obvious points are, well, obvious. No talking about future operations, capabilities, known enemy capabilities, etc. The big picture stuff is fair game, though, and this dawned on me when I sat down at Mickey D's on Main Street in Reading today and saw this:
The 26th “Yankee” Brigade Headquarters and the 26th Signal Company stationed right here in Reading at Camp Curtis-Guild will deploy to Afghanistan for one year beginning this February.
There is going to be a deployment ceremony held at the Reading Memorial High School Hawkes Field House on February 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM. The 300 Soldiers attending this ceremony will board busses at the conclusion of the ceremony and depart for their planes at Hanscom Air Force Base.
Frank Driscoll, Reading’s Veterans Service Officer, is asking the residents of Reading to donate the cost of a specially designed sweatshirt, purchased locally, to be given to each Soldier as they board the bus to show the support of the town, and to boost morale for the journey ahead. The cost for each shirt is $25 and your donation can be dropped off at the Town Hall or mailed to Frank Driscoll at Town Hall, 16 Lowell Street, Reading MA, 01867. The deadline for donations is Thursday, February 3rd.
The t-shirt deadline has passed (and they exceeded the goal!) but the point is this -- not everything involving the military is shrouded in secrecy and it shouldn't be. 'Citizen' still makes up half of 'citizen-soldier,' and if the military wants to complain about media or widespread societal misunderstanding of what it is and what it does, a good place to start is by sharing the shareable.