National Guard April 2012 : Page 96

LAST WORD Raising a New Army By Mary Corbett I where they work, live and train one degree of separation from the “Big Military,” and, often, from important events. N HIS BOOK, An Army of Davids , a popular blogger and But people have a lot of questions about the Guard. law professor, Glenn Reynolds, discusses how technol-And while we have been in the news over the past decade, ogy has decentralized authority. “Power once concentrat-many misconceptions remain about the Guard’s role in ed in the hands of a professional few,” he wrote, “has been national defense. redistributed into the hands of the amateur many.” In particular, most people want the Guard at home. Those of us who read blogs and participate in social Period. They don’t understand that strong, deployable media via Facebook and Twitter know this to be true. We reserve forces enable America to have an all-volunteer also know it can be both a blessing and a curse, depending military. on your view of the “amateur’s” message. While our public affairs professionals and organizations One such example is a February post by a Vermont-like NGAUS are skilled at dealing with large media outlets based blogger and newlywed Army wife that caused a lot and amplifying our voice, we often miss smaller opportu-of commotion in the military blogging community. In a nities within our communities. nutshell, she stated that National Guardsmen and their Who better to reach community-based influencers and spouses were not really “soldiers” and “Army wives.” media outlets than Guard family members? Her ignorance was obvious, not only in the tone of the Nobody, as I learned while conducting the “National piece, but when she stated that she Guard 101” portion of a workshop for understood why people were con-family readiness group leaders at Camp As Guardsmen fused since “the National Guard ACUs Blanding, Fla., last month. are almost exactly the same as Active With their family groups and assis-deployed across Duty ACUs.” tance centers running like clockwork, the globe, I knew it was the Florida National Guard has taken But, if I’m being honest, 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have known if she was my duty to embrace my spouse training and integration to a right or wrong. whole new level in the form of a wildly role as a military wife popular “Boot Camp.” When I married my husband in 2000, he was a longtime Guardsman. The savvy group of Guard family and promote the Guard But military life was new to me. members that I met not only soaked in in my own circle Back in those days, I didn’t consid-all of the information I presented, they er myself a “real” military wife. Mili-taught me things I didn’t know. of influence. tary spouses lived on bases. Military Together we covered everything spouses lived their lives within a very from the history of the Guard to how strict structure of rank. Military spouses had to deal with Guard companies work to how our own soldiers plug into deployments. And military wives understood the military. the big picture. We were welcomed into the home of Brig. I didn’t. Gen. Richard and Mrs. Carol Gallant for a lively dinner That changed for me on 9/11. Our National Guard was that reminded us the importance of traditional military heading for their armories or the burning World Trade customs and how easy it is to bond outside of official Center towers within minutes of the attack. Guard functions. It doesn’t get any more “real” than that. As deployments slow down and our soldiers and air-As Guardsmen deployed across the globe, I knew it was men come home, many family members are ready to take my duty to embrace my role as a military wife and promote on a new challenge. I believe it’s time to enlist military the Guard in my own circle of influence. spouses into the Army of Davids. Of course, this meant that I had to learn about the And judging from all the posts from Guard spouses on Guard. Not just family programs and protocol, but all the the comments section of the aforementioned Vermont-little things Guard family members pick up over years based blog, I think we are off to a good start. of experience. When I couldn’t find it all in one place, I The author is a Georgia National Guard wife, and mother of decided to compile it myself. two. Her work has been featured on The Today Show , Fox Publicizing my book, National Guard 101: A Handbook News Channel, local television affiliates and nationally syndi-for Spouses , has reinforced how much our fellow citizens cated radio programs. love the Guard. Guardsmen provide the communities 96 | Na tional Guard

Last Word

Mary Corbett

IN HIS BOOK, An Army of Davids, a popular blogger and law professor, Glenn Reynolds, discusses how technology has decentralized authority. “Power once concentrated in the hands of a professional few,” he wrote, “has been redistributed into the hands of the amateur many.” <br /> <br /> Those of us who read blogs and participate in social media via Facebook and Twitter know this to be true. We also know it can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on your view of the “amateur’s” message.<br /> <br /> One such example is a February post by a Vermontbased blogger and newlywed Army wife that caused a lot of commotion in the military blogging community. In a nutshell, she stated that National Guardsmen and their spouses were not really “soldiers” and “Army wives.” <br /> <br /> Her ignorance was obvious, not only in the tone of the piece, but when she stated that she understood why people were confused since “the National Guard ACUs are almost exactly the same as Active Duty ACUs.”<br /> <br /> But, if I’m being honest, 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have known if she was right or wrong.<br /> <br /> When I married my husband in 2000, he was a longtime Guardsman.But military life was new to me.<br /> <br /> Back in those days, I didn’t consider myself a “real” military wife. Military spouses lived on bases. Military spouses lived their lives within a very strict structure of rank. Military spouses had to deal with deployments. And military wives understood the military.I didn’t.<br /> <br /> That changed for me on 9/11. Our National Guard was heading for their armories or the burning World Trade Center towers within minutes of the attack.<br /> <br /> It doesn’t get any more “real” than that.<br /> <br /> As Guardsmen deployed across the globe, I knew it was my duty to embrace my role as a military wife and promote the Guard in my own circle of influence.<br /> <br /> Of course, this meant that I had to learn about the Guard. Not just family programs and protocol, but all the little things Guard family members pick up over years of experience. When I couldn’t find it all in one place, I decided to compile it myself.<br /> <br /> Publicizing my book, National Guard 101: A Handbook for Spouses, has reinforced how much our fellow citizens love the Guard. Guardsmen provide the communities Where they work, live and train one degree of separation from the “Big Military,” and, often, from important events.<br /> <br /> But people have a lot of questions about the Guard.And while we have been in the news over the past decade, many misconceptions remain about the Guard’s role in national defense.<br /> <br /> In particular, most people want the Guard at home.Period. They don’t understand that strong, deployable reserve forces enable America to have an all-volunteer military.<br /> <br /> While our public affairs professionals and organizations like NGAUS are skilled at dealing with large media outlets and amplifying our voice, we often miss smaller opportunities within our communities.<br /> <br /> Who better to reach community-based influencers and media outlets than Guard family members?<br /> <br /> Nobody, as I learned while conducting the “National Guard 101” portion of a workshop for family readiness group leaders at Camp Blanding, Fla., last month.<br /> <br /> With their family groups and assistance centers running like clockwork, the Florida National Guard has taken spouse training and integration to a whole new level in the form of a wildly popular “Boot Camp.” <br /> <br /> The savvy group of Guard family members that I met not only soaked in all of the information I presented, they taught me things I didn’t know.<br /> <br /> Together we covered everything from the history of the Guard to how Guard companies work to how our own soldiers plug into the big picture. We were welcomed into the home of Brig.Gen. Richard and Mrs. Carol Gallant for a lively dinner that reminded us the importance of traditional military customs and how easy it is to bond outside of official Guard functions.<br /> <br /> As deployments slow down and our soldiers and airmen come home, many family members are ready to take on a new challenge. I believe it’s time to enlist military spouses into the Army of Davids.<br /> <br /> And judging from all the posts from Guard spouses on the comments section of the aforementioned Vermontbased blog, I think we are off to a good start.<br /> <br /> The author is a Georgia National Guard wife, and mother of two. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, Fox News Channel, local television affiliates and nationally syndicated radio programs.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here