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Social Media Presents Its Own Unique Challenges for Our Armed F - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Social Media Presents Its Own Unique Challenges for Our Armed Forces

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The internet has made it so easy to post any idea, picture, or video whether or not you think twice about posting it. In the span of about a month four different pictures from National Guard and Air Force members have made national headlines because of their inappropriate nature. Today Valley News team's Eric Crest shares how the North Dakota National Guard is trying to avoid something like that all together.

For many members of the North Dakota Army and Air National Guard, social media is a part of their everyday lives.

"Everybody has the freedom of speech and we expect you to make use of that freedom, but just act appropriately," says North Dakota National Guard Staff Sgt. Eric Jungles.

"Most of us are responsible in what we put out there," adds North Dakota Air National Guard Master Sgt. Teresa Terry.

But recently across the country, some of the guard and members of the air force, must not have realized how far their posts could reach.

"Those people took the same oath as I did and they should know better," says Sgt. Terry.

Recently a member of the Washington Air Force posted a picture online of her making out with a POW/MIA emblem. Just weeks later a selfie could land a Fort Carson soldier in prison for insubordination. Her comment reads, "this is me laying back in my car so I don't have to salute the flag."Finally a Wisconsin National Guardsman, who was initially paying respects to a fallen soldier, posted an inappropriate picture and comment at a military funeral. Saying, someone's getting a jacked up flag because it's so cold out.

Members of the North Dakota National Guard hope that those pictures and comments don't paint the whole organization in a particular light.

"I'd like to think that members of the public see things like this in the news and know that what they're seeing isn't indicative of the organization," says Sgt. Jungels.

The guard will annually brief their soldiers and airman of the dos and don'ts of social media use. It's pretty brief, don't put a mission at risk with too much personal information or your whereabouts and use common sense.

"If I could get that group of young people to sit down with one of our gold star families and have a discussion with them. They would realize quick and fast and in a hurry exactly what they did," says Sgt. Terry.

"In any organization there are people that are going to make mistakes and it's in the organizations best interest to take those opportunities to learn," adds Sgt. Jungels.

While the North Dakota National Guard says they haven't experienced any inappropriate use of social media lately. If inappropriate photos were to ever surface it would be up to their unit commander to decide the penalty. It all would depend on the severity of the incident whether it could land a soldier in jail. In some circumstances insubordination could land a soldier in jail for up to two years.

 

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