Have you heard anything? If you find yourself reciting this question in your sleep, you've come to the right place for answers. Communication is essential during deployments, and it's now easier than ever to stay in sync with the latest military news.
Some ways to stay in the loop are listed below. Get in touch with your local base command for more specific information.
- Command and Unit Newsletters - Created exclusively by ombudsmen, and key volunteers, newsletters (both online and hard copy) can include important updates and family information such as mailing addresses, future meetings, and helpful deployment tips.
- Phone Trees - Stay connected with official information from the command. Phone-tree volunteers pass on to military families crucial information regarding deployment dates, valuable resources, and current events in the area.
- Family Support Groups (FSG) - Besides the fun activities and camaraderie you can build with other family members, FSG meetings can provide useful information such as homecoming events and special messages from the command or unit. Often, extended family members and friends of the deployed service member can also attend.
- Carelines - If your servicemember is attached to a ship, phone messages from the captain extend across the deep sea to families on the home front. Carelines can keep you abreast of shipboard activities, mail deliveries, and even the long-awaited countdown home. Ask your ombudsman if your ship has a Careline.
- Command and Unit Websites - Many commands and units have their own websites filled with valuable information such as current promotions, real-time videos, and pictures from around the world. Valuable family resources from chaplains and emergency numbers are often included.
You can also get e-mail updates at home. If your command or unit provides electronic updates, ask the Public Affairs Officer or website contact person to add your name to the e-mail list. Online and Print News
Visit the official Department of Defense website. You may also find recent articles in your base or local newspaper on various deployed troops.
Keep in mind that nightly television news programs often have the military under a watchful eye, especially in current times. Though they are informative, they can also cause needless anxiety to military families. Try to limit your exposure to a reasonable amount.
Understanding the Rules:
As much as we'd like to know all the ins and outs of deployments, information will be limited. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Operational Security (OpSec) prevents sensitive military information from being made public. Many reports will contain updates only on past missions, port visits, or movements, unless authorized.
According to Public Affairs Officer Captain Jeffrey Landis, discussion of any dates or locations, including incoming mail to service members, is also forbidden. "When your service member responds to your e-mail, it is being broadcast over an unclassified network," he warns.
- Timely updates may not always be possible. The needs and schedules of the command change frequently, and newsletters could be brief or be delayed.
Tips to Get Connected:
- Be proactive. If you don't know who your ombudsman or key volunteer is, ask your command or unit.
- Phone or write a note to your volunteer to introduce yourself.
- Keep your contact information current, including your e-mail address, phone number, and emergency information for immediate family members.
- Discuss concerns with your ombudsman or key volunteer if you have questions regarding the deployment, but remember that they can only tell you what they're authorized to tell you.
Learn more at the Military.com Deployment Center.