Military Wives & OPSEC…What Happens When Military Wives Blab On Facebook!

What happened in the article I am going to post below is the exact reason why some military wives piss me off. I realize having common sense is not specific only to military spouses but this is the sector of people I am referring to right now.

Click Here To Read Article

A few days ago two soldiers lost their lives in the midst of violent protest  that broke out in Afghanistan.

Needless to say the wife of one of the brave was notified in a less then proper way. She found out that the love of her live had been killed not by casualty notification officers but by *GASP* a text message!

Why did she find out via a text message?

Warning: I am about to be extremely blunt so forgive my wording.

Image Credit: AllMilitary.com

She found out this way because some big mouthed spouse thought it was smart to post it on their Facebook wall. Now in all fairness the spouse probably was just giving her condolences and thought a post on Facebook would be the proper way to do it. That being said what in the hell would possess you to do that when you haven’t seen anything on the news nor were you sure that the family of the fallen knew? This may not sound as if it  totally applies to OPSEC but it’s still not the smartest thing to do and most times is against the rules to post before the family has been properly notified.

I’ve seen this all to many times , not so much in the case of  death but with unit info and spouses who just have to make it known that they know something before everyone else so they blab and place it on Facebook like homecoming dates. I do remember the one incident in my husband’s last unit when he was deployed where a wife actually found out via Facebook that her husband had been killed. The wife (who posted on her FB page) was part of the FRG and had found out what happened before others. Again against her better common sense she went to the wife of the fallen soldier’s page and posted that she was sorry for her loss and asked if there was anything she could do. The problem was the wife had not been notified because the unit was still in the mist of doing that.

I mean isn’t this like OPSEC or better yet common sense 101?

The Consequences

The husband (soldier) of the wife got into trouble because they thought that he had told his wife . Naturally that was the first thing they assumed, although it wasn’t the case. In addition everyone suffered because we winded up being in black out much longer then we had to be . This meant other soldiers and their families couldn’t communicate all thanks to one wife .

The Lesson

Regardless of how well you know someone and how much you want to give your condolences, save them the pain of finding out anything horrible in a less then unpleasant way. Never place any information relating to deployment dates, redeployment dates, or mentions of troops KIA if you are unsure that the family has been made aware.

“Loose Lips Sink Ships…Keep Your Mouth Shut”! Respect OPSEC!

A great resource called “Social Media Guide for Military Families” was put out by Blue Star Families.

You can view it here.

Your Thoughts?

Have you ever seen a spouse post something military related on a wall that was inappropriate?

See what other military spouses are saying about this post.

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

37 comments

  1. JC

    Common sense isn’t all that common apparently…

    My husband is in the Navy and his buddy’s wife decided to actually scan the deployment/underway schedule onto FB for some reason when they were out in sea already. The worst part is that they were in the Persian Gulf.

  2. Melanie Colvin

    First I have to say my heart and prayers go out to this family. I can’t imagine losing my soldier then finding out via text msg then to confirm a phone call from chain of command. My anger and frustration would have me knocking on our Commander in Chiefs door wanting answers, a few some bodies jobs and the respect that I and my family would clearly deserve. As for the woman who posted this time sensitive and tragic info, just like in the civilian world she should be brought up on charges for obstruction of justice. Tampering an investigation and the person who told her. Military wives spouses are to be seen not heard. FRG was created to give those who have nothing else but be nosey something to do. If the military really wanted its soldiers to have blabbing wives we would be standard military army issued. Since we are not, we as spouses
    need to know our role. Family, home, and our soldier.

  3. Melanie please tell me you were typing in your sleep when you said Military wives spouses are to be seen not heard and we as spouses
    need to know our role. Family, home, and our soldier.

    Because you really could not have just said that we are not living in the 50’s.

    • Melanie Colvin

      OK clearly this gonna upset some but don’t take it as literal as I think you are. No its not the 50s and women have come a long way with rights and the ability to conquer all. However I am saying and with plenty of experience that if some people would jus t mind their business there would be less to no incidences like this. I live on Ft hood where we have had one of the worst shootings in history on a military installation. Word of mouth is so not the business when no one clearly knew what was going on. It was those same unofficial mouths scarring children and adults into thinking we had mass murderers running around our housing area. Which was so far from the truth. I say that to say this, if its not your official job or title to be the bearer of bad or good news, keep your mouth on the hush. Speaking of what you think you know is how lies get told.

      • Natasha

        I got your point and I agree with you to some extent because I have experienced a lot of those wives that should be seen only and never heard..the one that think they know it all when they really have no clue, the ones that like to be the first to tell something and in the end have the complete wrong information…and don’t get me started on the FRG…If you’ve experienced a good FRG,consider yourself lucky….

    • No- I didn’t get that at all… did I miss that line in there? I think we just need to learn to keep our mouths shut when it doesn’t concern us… and a big step in that is learning that 99% of the time we think it concerns us, it in fact does not.

      Things were much more pleasant in my grandfather’s Navy though, so perhaps we should revert back to the lack of information wives were given in the 50’s. There wasn’t as much of this nonsense going on.

    • You are absolutely right on. And I’m glad that you tkeald about personal security too, because it is always hard to know where to draw the lines when you blog about personal matters. I’ve actually been struggling with some personal drama lately and essentially stopped blogging for a while because of it. I couldn’t focus on anything but what was happening in our family. But then going back to lighthearted blogging felt false. So I finally decided to write about some of what has been going on. I hope what I wrote isn’t too much or too dark. But it does feel good to be back in the blogosphere. I’ve missed you!

  4. Melanie Colvin

    Oh and before any frg member tries to blast me for my opinion, I’ve been to the meetings in support of. But I also remember when my husband deployed not one of them called me, sent a letter, emailed a flight schedule or spoke to any of the other wives during the whole deployment but smiled in our faces because they were awarded for organizing two car washes and a bake sale. Status isn’t everything.

    • Dana

      This is exactly why I have conflicting issues about being involved with the FRG. I’ve been to the training meetings/sessions and raising money is NOT a condition of being an FRG.

    • Destiny

      I’m sorry you had such a horrible experience with FRG’s. My husbands first deployment was the same for me. We got married during R&R and I moved 2000 miles away from my hometown to get everything ready before he got home. I got NO help from the FRG. I was so lost and alone and scared. In order to make up for that, I am now a POC (point of contact) at our current duty station. I call EVERYONE emergency contact once a month, and make sure there isn’t anything I can do. When my husband’s unit deploys, I will be calling them at least twice a month. I understand your frustration with the FRG, but I would encourage you to be the change you would like to see. I have been blessed with a wonderful FRG here, and we haven’t even been here 2 months yet

  5. June Davis

    I am not even going to comment on your foot in mouth statement about being seen not heard.
    FRGs are different everywhere you go. How it is ran depends on the command and the leader. Sorry, you had a bad expereince, but not all of us do. They were created as a support network for families; not because wives were nosey.

    Think before you speak.

    My heart goes out to the family of this soldier. She did not deserve to hear that way. I hope to they get to root of the cause and punish whatever soldier blabbed about it. So sad. I hope the wife heals well, and I thank those soldiers for their service. Rest in Peace.

  6. Becky

    This is part of the reason why I stopped reading blogs about military because of what is happening in the World Wide Web. You may not like my statement which is fine with me but I have to agree sometimes we need to step back and not SPEAK especially when comes to the death of our loved ones performing their job. I think the comment you made has nothing to do with us being in “50’s” it has everything to do with the fact we need to stop and allow the proper channels to do their jobs.

    In this day and age where the news travels at the speed of light and we want to get the info out on Twitter, texting, Facebook maybe what we should do is look at how those words or abbreviations can in fact hurt someone. As my mom always told me growing up; think twice before you speak as you do not know what those words may have an affect on someone else. As for the OSPEC rules they are there for a reason and should always be considered before typing on any website, blog or email to your friend or someone in the unit.

    Just one Army wife’s opinion.

    • Becky there is a difference between saying “Military wives should be seen and not heard” like Melanie said and saying “We need to know when to keep our mouths shut” which is what you are saying.

      • Becky

        Nolie I think your missing the picture here and there is a point & time when wives should be heard but “We do not wear their rank” They wear it.. This is the point I’m trying to make and if the spouses continue to not to follow the rules of “OSPEC” your spouse will pay for it. That’s all I’m saying.

  7. Anon

    Thank you for not bashing our unit. A wife sent a Facebook message with her condolences and then obviously the wife started asking questions.
    The letter sent out was not released until after the families were notified and was later taken away because it contained names which had not be released by the DoD yet.

  8. I experienced by own mis-notification when my husband had his legs blown off this past September. It isn’t just spouses- soldiers and command can really FUBAR these already horrific events, as well. I am a new follower so forgive me if you’ve covered the topic already, but please consider discussing WIA notification in the near future. Every spouse should make sure his or her command has a policy in place for it- ESPECIALLY rear-d. My husband is EOD so our rear-d was the sister company at home- they’re the ones who made a bad situation worse for me. My neighbor suffered a worse WIA notification in a much larger infantry company because the rear-d command decided that it just wasn’t important to notify her in a reasonable manner and time frame.

    And remember, that mouthy wife found out from her down-range husband about the KIA- and I hope he is severely punished for it.

  9. Amen sister! I don’t understand why so many spouses don’t think before they do something. I’m constantly concerned for my husband’s respect in the military and am fully aware of the fact that if I screw up he loses that respect and gets in trouble! If we really want to give a family our condolences for the lost then we should be sending a card or doing it in person, NOT ON ANY KIND OF SOCIAL MEDIA!!!

  10. Ashley

    My heart breaks for this family. I can not imagine having been notified on freaking FB that my husband, love of my life had been killed. I hope the wife and soldier who blabbed his stupid mouth to his wife are both brought up on some charges. I just can not believe the stupidity of people.

    • Natasha

      I don’t understand why this wife thought it was a good idea…would she have wanted someone to do this to her? Was she trying to be the first to offer condolences? I guess common sense and respect are lost on some people

  11. My only example is another unit on our post 2 deployments ago, the parents of a soldier were called by the FRG LEADER and told she was so sorry their son/soldier had died…then literally 5 minutes after they’d hung up the phone with this woman, their son called them. To say that they were freaking out as they were in the midst of freaking out at the horrible news and then to hear his voice on the other end of the phone. The FRG leader was obviously fired. That soldier ended up coming home safe and sound, got married, had a child and would not allow his wife to have any involvement in the FRG, which of course is not exactly surprising.

    Honestly people just need to shut up and mind their own business sometimes.

    • Suzanne

      Not all FRG’s are like that. As a FRG Leader we are told to let the Military handle it and then if the family requests we come in after. If we find out any information we take it up to the Commander first.

  12. Ashley Strickland

    So if I say how days I have left until he comes home on my Facebook like just the days not saying after it about his deployment just the days nothing else. Does that consider Opsec?

  13. 4 years ago, there was a guy related to my neighbor who was deployed. She posted his homecoming date as her FB status. I sent her a private message and told her that it was against OPSEC and she could delay his homecoming. She should delete it. I also sent her a link so that she could read up on OPSEC. Her response was to send me a message back saying how I needed to butt out of her effing business. She can post whatever the eff she wants, yadda yadda yadda. Sure enough, homecoming was delayed and he later explained that it was an OPSEC issue.

    • Suzanne

      Dana she should of listened to you. Opsec is a big thing around war. I didn’t find out our Soldiers were coming home until that week they arrived. We didn’t have exact dates for it. As a FRG we were told pretty much the day before they arrived at the airport.

  14. Suzanne

    This is SAD…. I thought pre-deployment training for the Families (Yellow Ribbons) were supposed to teach about OPSEC. I know with being a Family Readiness Group Leader they always do a briefing about casualties of war. So something like this doesn’t happen or at least they do it for the Command we are under. Every Year we get the same training and its a good reminder. Guess I need to show this to our Commander and Say HEY we need to keep a eye on this. Thanks for putting this up so I can pass it on. There is online if you put OPSEC in the Google you can pull up the OPSEC regulations. I suggest everyone reads it. I think also Military One source has like a class on it for free on their site. But it has been a while since I have looked it up. OPSEC keeps our Troops and Families Safe.

  15. Vanessa

    I found out about my friend who passed away on Facebook, the family wasn’t notified and everyone on base went on freak out mode. She had a husband and a step son and even though it was on there for less than 5 minutes (common sense kicked the person in the ass), people confused the second soldier who was killed to be my husband who was there but was fine. I don’t understand what’s so hard with shutting up about things like homecomings, where they are and what they are doing.
    When hubby was overseas, I made sure he told me NOTHING. Not because I would blab but we all have a tendency to talk about what’s going on during tour and wives want to know what’s going on. And since he told me nothing I couldn’t accidentally say anything that would hurt the mission or my husband.

    I just don’t get it! You may not be military but you kind of signed under the dotted line as a spouse. Don’t announce it!

  16. Dana

    We are at Fort Campbell now. The redeployment system they have set up is so strange to me. We have not been involved with it, but from what friends have gone through, confuses me. They knew WEEKS in advance of their time and date of arrival. Last time we deployed (3 years ago) we were not notified until WHEELS up from Kuwait. And even if we had some idea of when they were coming, we had no idea who was on what flight until the plane had cleared borders.
    It saddens me that so many spouses think the “rules” do not apply to them; because you know, “my settings are set to private and no one can see”. Well, guess what ladies, it isn’t that way! People who are smart enough can get around those “settings” and see everything. You may not have respect for your husband and his safety but have respect for the other families and soldiers’ safety!

  17. I have always said “If terrorists could figure out history topple the Twin Towers…I’m pretty sure they can figure out how to topple your privacy settings.” It is natural for us to want to share all the details of deployment because we crave support, but you simply can NOT do it!

    But let me be clear…FRG’s were not simply created to entertain wives with nothing else to do. Supporting the military family is a way to support the troops, period. When asked their biggest concern during deployment, it is always in regards to their families. When they are not worried, they do a better job. Spouses should not be seen and not heard (their are some incredible spouses doing awesome things in their communities…they are certainly not silent), but they need to be heard the right way. As a spouse, you can either be an assett to your spouse and the military, or a problem. Be an assett!

    • Army Wife 101
      Author

      You phrased that perfectly Erin about being seen and heard the right way. I encourage spouses alot to supoort our troops by volunteering , joining the FRG for the right reasons but still letting the military handle the parts they need to handle.

  18. Mechelle

    I agree and disagree with army wives being seen and not heard. We have the right to express our opinions and thoughts since I believe we’re also important to the army. But when it comes to information that really doesn’t concern us we should just keep our mouths shut and let the people who get paid the money to do their jobs and it also falls back on soldiers as well. I have seen a lot of soldiers share information with their spouses that really shouldn’t leave the office and then not explain to their spouses not to repeat it.

  19. Nik

    I’ve seen SO MANY WIVES post shit on their facebook pages that simply shouldn’t be there. Here’s an example Baumholder troops coming home wife posts a date in which the troops where coming home. That date was not real (it never was real) when the plane didn’t show up everyone started to assume the worst (crashed, blown up, battle what have you)It was crazy for a few days.

  20. Robyn

    I am grateful you brought this up, currently my husband performs the duties of CACO ( casualty assistance calls officer ) family notifications, until we head back to fleet. In the last several months alone and this is after that poor woman found out her husband died via FB that went viral, that people are still DOING THIS.. WTF!! We are having families notified by people downrange about the death of their child or spouse via FB, SKYPE and what other means that is out there.. think about this before you do this, you are taking from them the dignity and respect that is given to them by CACO’s by jumping the gun so you can be the first one to give condolences.. what do you get out of it besides the morbid joy of being there to watch or hear that person become totally destroyed.. KEEP YOUR FLIPPIN LIPS LOCKED.. you are not qualified to tell people and the punishment that you will have heading your way, will be minor to what you just destroyed. Lets give our fallen and their families the respect they deserve, a quite and humble notification, burial and memorial, thats the least of what we should do besides keeping quiet till we know they have been told, then send a card!

    I don’t get involved in the FRO much anymore, I go to the meetings when ever we have them but, my husbands last FRO didn’t do squat. He was deployed for a year and I got one email about a fundraiser for a holiday party then, that was it. When I questioned her she told me” im very busy” wasn’t that her job? It got down to the point that I had to ask the command for information because I wasn’t getting any from anyone. The Colonel emailed me and kept me in the loop..now thats a sad thing..well thats my sad story, glad i’m not the only one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.