FORT KNOX, Ky. (May 9, 2012) -- During a year-long deployment, a group of Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, "Task Force Duke," dedicated themselves to sharing their experiences bringing security and stability to the Khowst and Paktya provinces in Afghanistan. They did this on Army Strong Stories -- the U.S. Army's premier blog and story-sharing program where every Soldier is invited to blog about his or her day-to-day life in the Army.
Based out of Fort Knox, Task Force Duke was made up of Soldiers from a wide array of branches including public affairs officers, field artillery specialists, infantrymen, medical specialists and many more. All members of the brigade came together to ensure a successful mission that allowed them to conduct military operations, provide education and mentorship to the Afghan National Security Forces and open never before established communication between the Afghan government and its people.
While abroad, Soldiers posted written and video stories about life at Forward Operating Base Salerno, from definitions of cultural differences and superstitions and what Soldiers do for entertainment, to a ride-along in a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. The bloggers used Army Strong Stories to keep family, friends and supporters updated during their year overseas.
Sgt. Tobey White, one of the unit's bloggers, explains, "Being able to blog while overseas let me share stories of deployment in a easily accessible medium. When words couldn't convey what I wanted, I could use photos and videos to reach more people. Blogging let me create a dialogue with the people back home and helped them feel connected to me at the same time."
Maj. Travis Dettmer, Public Affairs Officer for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, explains, "[The blog posts] were definitely interesting to family members. Like anything, they follow you on Facebook and other social channels. Even if you don't see comments, you know they are interested."
Throughout the deployment, a total of 82 blog posts from 14 Soldiers were added to Army Strong Stories. Take a look at the events and experiences Soldiers shared during their time overseas here: http://armystrongstories.com/tag/31-ibct. Every Soldier, cadet, veteran and Army supporter is encouraged and welcome to sign up to tell their story about deployment or any other aspect of Army life at http://www.armystrongstories.com/tell-your-story.
Sharing deployment experiences is just one example of how the Army is using Army Strong Stories to facilitate authentic and transparent conversations that can help educate potential recruits about serious issues like deployment, while also encouraging deployed Soldiers to stay connected with supporters back home.