Monday, June 3, 2013

OMG, BCT on FB? YMBKM!

Once your solider advances through the painful purgatory that is Reception week, and you lose all contact until the lucrative letters begin their assault on your mailbox, they will be assigned to a battery/company to complete the next nine weeks of BCT. This is a great time for you to put on your super sleuth Sherlock costume and start searching for the platoon Facebook page. Many of the bases that host basic training have started allowing the batteries to create pages that, depending on the Captain’s enthusiasm for social media, upload photos and provide general updates about your soldier ASAP, including the 411 on graduation weekend. In our technological times, who wouldn’t want some exclusive VIP access to an otherwise restricted area? The only downside: the page may be slightly difficult to locate on your own.
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If your solider was allowed to give you the address over the phone when they arrived at BCT, then you know what battery they belong to, and should therefore skip the next section. Simply type in the information to the FB search bar, and ta-dah! Found.

If your solider was forced to W8 and write home to give you an address, like FM, keep reading.

To kick off your search, have a look at the base’s website. There should be some section on the front page, a tab perhaps, dedicated to the training facilities on base, more specifically Basic Combat Training.
Click.
You will probably find yourself staring at the page of the entire BCT Brigade. Locate the link to “Graduation Dates.”
Click.
Attach thinking cap. Count ten weeks from the D8 your solider arrived at the base. Start perusing through the list of different battalions and platoons to find dates that would coincide with your precise ten week calculation.
If you are lucky, there is only one battalion and platoon that match the date your solider should graduate. If you are not as lucky, much like myself, there could be a few possibilities.
NBD! Just find the page of each PLT (probably listed under “Battalions” and see if they have a link to the FB feed, or search for all of them on FB directly. Keep an eye on those pages until you get word on what platoon your solider belongs to, and then start following the group.
GR8, now you are all set up to see if there will be pics or updates about your solider that may get to you slightly faster than waiting for the USPS to deliver the goods.

Thankfully FM’s Commander was relatively generous with posts and JPEGS (BTW, a big TY to him for that), but FYI not all battalions will be that way.

Keep in mind, social media is a privilege, not a right. Treat it as such. Do not give out TMI. Do not start making demands to see pictures of your soldier or getting testy with the account administrator for not answering your FAQs. Do not start quarreling or bickering with other group members. Do not leave asinine, absurd, embarrassing, inane, insipid, mindless, outlandish, rude, ridiculous, or otherwise senseless comments. More than once FM’s officers were forced to put some family members in their place and threaten to forego all future communications. PLZ do not be the person that makes the rest say “WTF, I H8 you, now we are all SOL!”

With 200+ soldiers to account for and train 24/7, Facebook is the least of the battalion’s concerns. If you do not abuse the privilege so charitably gifted to U, and CYA, U could end up with some unique training pictures to share and inside info on the soldiers and their training.

GL. TTYL. XOXO.





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