By Carmen L. Gleason/AFPSFebruary 8, 2007
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2007 - Friends and family back home will have a chance to see their servicemembers in action and hear their personal messages via video thanks to the efforts of a cable network dedicated to the military.
Beginning at 6 a.m. on Feb. 14, Discovery Communications' Military Channel plans to launch "Operation V-Day," a 24-hour commercial-free airing of messages from troops around the world to their loved ones in the states.
The channel also plans to begin airing troop-recorded videos for a new feature showing the personal stories of the men and women stationed overseas.
"The Military Channel is dedicated to all military subjects - and most certainly that means men and women in uniform themselves," said Jill Bondurant, organization publicist.
The media outlet is the first to partner with the Defense Department's America Supports You program in an effort to broaden national awareness of the ways viewers can support U.S. troops.
Bondurant said that the network is reinforcing its commitment to the military by being a voice for troops and opening up the airwaves so they can send messages back home.
In mid-January, the Pentagon Channel asked American Forces Network stations worldwide to begin collecting video clips for airing on Valentine's Day. Their goal was to submit 1,900 messages to the cable network.
The nature of the Pentagon Channel is to push out news and information to the men and women of the military and their families, said Brian Natwick, the station's general manager. "For this reason, making the push to get people to give Valentine's Day messages out to family members is a great project for us to be involved in."
In addition to airing the messages from troops in 177 different countries, the Military Channel will also air public service announcements on how to get involved with the America Supports You program.
The Military Channel will continue to focus on user-generated videos when they begin airing "Voices from the Front" the following day. Each hour, the network will broadcast "unfiltered, real-life" moments filmed by servicemembers.
"The Military Channel is continuing to increase the amount of airtime related to the war in Iraq, which has doubled since last year, and is planning more direct-from-the-troops programming," said Bondurant.
She said that this is a chance for troops to tell their personal stories to viewers and allow them to see what a day in the life is really like for servicemen and women.
Troops are encouraged to submit raw footage and content from their day-to-day activities for airing on the channel and its Web site. Video can be sent to www.mywardiary.com or can be mailed to Military Videos, c/o Discovery Productions, 8045 Kennett Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910.