Three Years & Fifteen Years

Anna, Noelani and KoaIt’s a big day in my tiny world. Today marks fifteen years of service in the Army National Guard. It’s fitting that I’m presently attending the officer branch course for the next part of my career right now and at the same location where I began all those years ago.

My little Noelani, my Beautiful Girl From Heaven, turns 3 years old today. She made me a Mom, made Kevin a Dad, and made us the proud co-parents of the most energetic, curious, amazing and beautiful little lady I know. I am astounded every day at her intelligence, her ability to comprehend and execute instructions, and her growth. She makes us laugh with her spot-on sense of comedic timing and humor, and keeps us on our toes! We can’t even spell out words we don’t want her hearing anymore-she understands what we are trying to hide.

She is absolutely barely-three and is in the thick of the “terrible twos”, but is so quick to recover from something seemingly devastating, it’s as if the incident never occurred. I wish I had that much resilience!

To you Noelani,

I pray you have a wonderful birthday day wrapped up warmly in the arms of your Aunt and Grandparents. Enjoy Papa’s mickey mouse pancakes. Have a wonderful jaunt down the river trail. Choo choo along with the train when it chugs past the house. And give your brother his half-birthday gift wrapped up with all the sibling love you have for him.

I love you with all my heart and am so proud to be your Mom.

Happy Birthday Noelani!



Social Media Listening – A lesson by U.S. Army Ranger School

When is it appropriate to respond to trolls? And in what way?

This week I have been closely watching all the press surrounding the first two women ever to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger school. Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot just completed an incredibly grueling training set. There are a lot of congratulations, but just as many naysayers and those who wish to spout untruths, opinions as fact, and general misogynistic rudeness!

This was expected of course. The debate surrounding women in uniform, women in combat roles, women serving on the frontlines of America’s wars, and women’s capability in general seems to be open for discussion. Women serve in all our Armed Forces. Women have served on the frontlines in combat. Period. They have simply done so without the same designations their male counterparts have, without the same jobs in the military. But they have proven capable, competent, solid Soldiers.

 Soldiers on the Ranger Course at Camp Rudder on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 6, 2015. 1st Lts. Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver will graduate Aug. 21, 2015 as Rangers. (U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY PFC. YVETTE ZABALA-GARRIGA)

Soldiers on the Ranger Course at Camp Rudder on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 6, 2015. Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver will graduate Aug. 21, 2015 as Rangers. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Yvette  Zabala-Garriga)

As for the Social Media response to those who inevitably will belittle the accomplishment, the Social Media Manager for the U.S. Army Fort Benning Facebook page absolutely OWNED the conversation. They responded to all misinformed naysayers by correcting with factual information, politely but in a manner that did not allow for interpretation. A write up on the topic was done just after on  Army Fort Benning Shuts Down Misogynist Trolls .

Their ability to respond immediately and continuously allowed for control of the conversation. Yes, there were still more posts, more voices adding to the conversation, more negativity. But to each post that was incorrect or deserved a response from the schoolhouse, they got it. Other citizens defended the rigors of the training, the standards being equal for men and women, the timelines and more. But the voice of the official owner of the platform rang loudly.

Then the Ranger school’s number two in command, Maj. Jim Hathaway, wrote a response to the negative comments laying out fact vs fiction. Read it over at Ranger School Officer Combats Rumors About How Women Passed In Pointed Facebook Post . Once again, he did so in a professional manner but left no room for reasonable rebuttal.
Hathaway closed his remarks by saying, “No matter what we at Ranger School say the non-believers will still be non-believers. We could have invited each of you to guest walk the entire course, and you would still not believe, we could have video recorded every patrol and you would still say that we “gave” it away. Nothing we say will change your opinion.”

We as Social Media professionals must be able to listen to our customers, respond to them and hopefully be able to own the conversation, make right where we can and offer accurate truthful information where we can’t.

How would you have handled this situation? Did they perform a textbook response? Leave a comment below.

Simultaneously Excited and Apprehensive

Waves of excitement, pure unadulterated joy followed by anxiety about everything under the sun…that pretty much sums up my general state of being. I suppose that’s partially a bi-product of this pregnancy. But for me it’s also the complete shift of working for myself/my clients from home to working full-time in an office nearly an hour’s drive away.

I recently accepted a full-time position with the Army National Guard as a military technician. For this gal who’s spent the past two and half years as a solopreneur working to build a business, the shift is going to be a challenge. I have been lucky enough to be blessed in so many ways through this business journey. Continue reading

Who Designs Military Maternity Uniforms? Must be Men

After more than eleven years serving in the U.S. Army National Guard and I’m still struggling with uniform issues.I began my career during the end of the BDUs (pants and tops in the camouflage green pattern, black boots), and soft cotton sweats for physical training. After a few years, the Army transitioned to the current digital grey pattern (Army Combat Uniform or ACU) with some upgrades to the trousers and blouse. These included a zipper close on the top instead of a row of buttons, pockets galore to even include a pocket on the bottom left sleeve for writing utensils.

But they also included velcro. Velcro tabs to hold the top’s flap closed, velcro on ALL the pockets, velcro for all the interchangeable name tapes and rank. The boots changed from black to desert tan which signaled the end of spending hours each evening shining boots. (I often wondered what the Drill Sergeants replaced that discipline skill with in Basic Combat Training.) Continue reading

The Third Time I Trudged Through the Bataan Memorial Death March

This was the third time I’ve participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March. The first year I entered in the military heavy category. This meant I wore my full Army uniform, including combat boots and carried a 42 lbs ruck sack (a military issued backpack). The requirement is 35 lbs. How did I end up with 42 lbs then? Well, that’s what happens when you train with two fellow females and one shows up the morning of the march with entirely too much weight and we distribute it. Bad idea. Bring non-perishable food items instead of military issued gear so you can donate what you don’t need to make weight. Continue reading