That’s not a question. It’s more of a statement of surprise.
I have been in Georgia the past few days for my brother’s graduation from Infantry training for the United States Army. (Sidenote: We’re super proud of him. Good job James!). It’s been a great couple days, and a post about the trip will come soon.
But in this post I want to talk about how the Army communicates with families of the soldiers.
I thought once my brother went off to the Army, we’d have no idea where he was or what he was doing. But the opposite was actually true. When he first signed, his general called us and said, “If you have any questions, feel free to call.” Now obviously we wouldn’t call the general, but it was nice that he reached out.
As he went through training, we got letters from the Army about upcoming events including family weekend and graduation.
The one communication vehicle the Army used that surprised me the most was Facebook. I didn’t even know the Army knew what Facebook was!
There was a Facebook page set up for my brother’s company (Echo Company 1/19). You might not be able to see the page unless you “like” it, so below is a screenshot.
The Facebook page served as a place for family members (mostly mothers) of the soldiers in Echo Company 1/19 to post support and updates. Of course since it was an Army page, there were a lot of rules, and the page was closely monitored.
One of the favorites on the page was the photo section. The admins of the page would upload photos of the soldiers during basic and Infantry training. There were even contests to determine which platoon would be photographed each week…the moms took it pretty seriously.
At this point there are more than 1,000 photos of the soldiers…from the beginning of their training up until graduation yesterday.
At graduation, the person who set up and ran the Facebook page (a wife of one of the sergeants) was awarded a civilian award by the U.S. Army. Pretty sweet, huh? The way she set up Echo Company’s Facebook page has even become standard for any company having a page.
I was shocked that the Army would be that public and that outreaching to families. Not to say I didn’t appreciate it, because I did. I was just surprised. This just shows us that social media is literally changing everything.