By Charles Melton (USAG Fort Irwin)February 4, 2010
FORT IRWIN, Calif.- Fort Irwin/National Training Center Commanding General Brig. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams is a regular on 88.3FM KNTC, Fort Irwin and the National Training Center's post radio station, but his Wednesday morning appearance wasn't his usual show.
Instead of just fielding questions from callers, Brig. Gen. Abrams, who has a Twitter page himself, took questions from the Fort Irwin/National Training Center Facebook page and Twitter page, demonstrating yet another way the installation is using Social Media.
As he spoke about a wide variety of topics ranging from the value of Social Media to the current Canadian rotation and the installation's DUI prevention and awareness efforts, Brig. Gen. Abrams fielded a question from the Fort Irwin/NTC Facebook page about one of the many on-going construction projects on the installation.
Although Brig. Gen. Abrams didn't have an immediate answer to the question, it didn't take long for him to provide the correct answer to the question about the improvements being done to one of the many recreational fields at Fort Irwin.
"There is great power for us because of our remote location and our ability to communicate using a combination of Facebook and Twitter primarily to help message to the community," he said. "It's a way to quickly get out short bursts of information on what's going on: road closures, if there's an incident or accident."
Before the current rotation began, there was an incident at the front gate that provided an opportunity for the installation to leverage and quickly send out information to the community, he said.
"If we can leverage our Social Media, following NTC_UPDATE on Twitter, you like me would have gotten an immediate message on what's going on," he said. "It's just another way leverage what we have and get the word out on things. It's a great tool from a command information standpoint to be able to get the message out."
Currently, Canadian soldiers are conducting training at Fort Irwin and the National Training Center as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan and Brig. Gen. Abrams said the Canadian military leadership has been impressed with the quality of training at the National Training Center.
"It's been a fantastic rotation. Great opportunity for a joint, intergovernmental, multi-national training experience right here at the world's finest combat training center," Brig. Gen. Abrams said.
Several high profile Canadian military leaders including the Canadian Chief of Defense have come to the National Training Center to see the ongoing training and have been pleased, he said.
"They came down here and they just couldn't say enough good things about all the good support and the great training their soldiers are receiving," Brig. Gen. Abrams said. "They just couldn't be more pleased."
One thing most people don't know is that the Canadian Army has been side-by-side U.S. Forces in Afghanistan since the beginning, he said.
"Per capita they have sacrificed more blood and treasure and human life than we have," Brig. Gen. Abrams said. "They are true professionals. They are absolutely incredible fighters. They're great coalition partners and they don't get a lot of recognition in our national press, but as soldiers we stand by and recognize their competence, their confidence, the professionalism of a great Army and a true friend to the United States of America."
In January Fort Irwin and the NTC had its first DUI-free month in 13 months, Brig. Gen. Abrams said.
"I think we're doing a much better job than we had previously. We went the month of January without a DUI," he said. "That's a significant accomplishment, especially based on the numbers. We averaged seven a month."
The DUI awareness and prevention effort is an ongoing campaign that the installation must keep going, he said.
"This is about taking care of each other. This is about protecting the force and protecting the great soldiers and families at Fort Irwin," Brig. Gen. Abrams said. "We're only one DUI away from killing somebody and that's the sad reality of things. I just ask that everybody on Fort just keep their eye on the ball and continue to press."