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Gunner's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Click here to ask a Question.

Foreword: Most websites have a pretty dry, technical FAQ page fairly narrow in scope. Here, I plan to answer general questions. The only topics that will not be addressed are SEX, RELIGION and POLITICS. Naturally, I will also answer questions related to this website. So, if you have a question, I might not be able to answer the question, but I will probably know where to get the answer. Please note that this is not intended to be a matchmaker service, or provide advice for the lovelorn.

Index - Please Click a Question of Interest


1 - How do I get that story posted on your website?

2 - I don't know how to get his email address. Can you help?

3 - Do you link to AP (& others) on coverage of Iraq & if so how is an article submitted to your site?

4 - How many active duty service members are there?

5 - Can troops send email from Iraq?

6 - Are U.S. troops allowed to use email in Iraq?

7 - How can we send donations to marines serving in Iraq?

8 - What order should armed services branches be listed in?

9 - Is it possible to post a message from family/friend to a specific deployed service member & how?

10- Where is there link for service members (deployed & at home base) to post their holiday message?

11- Where can I find a list of the casualties in Iraq that were from my home state? (See Also 14)

12- Are there times when servicemembers are prohibited, for security or other reasons, from responding to emails?

13- Where can I get a list of deployed US Navy ships?

14- Where can I get the most recent Iraq casualty lists? (See Also 11)

E-Mail and Mail to Our Troops - Additional information available on our E-mail Troops page.

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Questions and Answers

Q - Where can I get the most recent Iraq casualty lists?

Betty, Norfolk, VA

A - The Department of Defense has a webpage where they are posted 24 hours after the Next of Kin has been notified. Here is the URL:

http://www.defenselink.gov/releases/

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2004-12-02



Q - Where can I get a list of deployed US Navy ships?

KAREN L., Kauai, Hawaii

A - The US Navy did maintain a list of deployed ships. It was removed from public view on Oct 19, 2010. However, Atlantic Naval Surface Force Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Commanders have lists of ships attached to their commands available at this time
Commander Naval Surface Force, Atlantic.

Commander Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet.

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2003-12-24



Q - My servicemember is a sailor. Are there times when servicemembers are prohibited, for security or other reasons, from responding to emails?

KIMBERLY P. Panama City, FL

A - The simple answer is "Yes." But, as with most military issues, it is a little more complicated than that.

ON THE GROUND:
If Servicemembers are in an operational environment that requires a high degree of Operational Security (OPSEC in military parlance), that decision is up to the tactical commander, who can and does occasionally impose a restriction on all external communications. In view of the fact that the internet is a notoriously insecure means of communicating, it would not be unusual for restrictions to be placed on the use of email. It is certainly not a common practice, but it could not be considered unusual. If your servicemember is in Special Forces, Special Ops or Navy Seals, it is more likely to occur in an effort to heighten OPSEC.

A much more common cause of a servicemembers failure to respond to an email is the lack of availability. Many forward operating bases (FOB) do not have the infrastructure to support PC communications and email. That is a much more likely reason for no responses to emails. And probably the most likely reason is that our servicemembers are not on a picnic, and they might simply be "dog tired", and need some rest.

AT SEA:
Sailors at sea generally have all of the limitations mentioned above, and they have two additional problems - physical exhaustion and an absence of internet connections. They have a grueling regimen at sea, and there are no telephone lines, or cable connections at sea. The periods at sea are sometimes three or four months in duration.

In peace time, ships company sailors at sea or "peace time steaming" usually have a 4 hours on, and 8 hours off watch rotation. In addition, they have to perform their regularly assigned duties. That includes administrative and maintenance duties. So, there isn't much time left when you have to perform a regular days work, 8 hours of watch, get a shower, meals, and some sleep. This watch standing rotation is used when a ship is transiting across the seas and oceans of the earth.

In Wartime, ships company sailors at sea or "war time steaming" usually have a 4 hours on and 4 hours off watch rotation, which is 12 hours of watch a day, with the same duties, and needs in terms of meals and sleep. Also called Port and Starboard watch standing. This is probably what your sailor is doing right now.

In actual combat, when a US Navy ship goes to war, they go to GQ (General Quarters) to "fight the ship". This means that they are under attack, or very likely to be attacked. They are "on watch" 24 hours a day, with no breaks until the battle or threat has ended.

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2003-12-22



Q - I was reading all those stories about various Army soldiers who won medals. I am in Iraq and have been decorated twice with Army commendation medals. How do I get that story posted on your website?

A - Here are short instructions on how to get your story published through the chain of command. This is necessary to insure that no classified information is released for publication.

You should complete and send a HOMETOWN NEWS RELEASE form via your Public Affairs Officer (PAO) to AFNEWS in San Antonio, TX or to FHTNC in Norfolk, VA.

US ARMY and US AIR FORCE personnel should use electronic version of DD Form 2266, JUN 95. Your PAO may prefer that you do it electronically if the program is running at your base. Or, you may be allowed to download, print and complete the form in ink, using the form at link below:
http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/infomgt/forms/eforms/dd2266.pdf

US NAVY, US MARINE CORPS and US COAST GUARD personnel use electronic version of NAVSO 5724/1:
https://www.chinfo.navy.mil/fhtnc/5724_1.pdf

The forms are pretty self explanatory, but leave the PAO code blank, your PAO should complete that block.

Here are some informal tips that might be useful:

  • Fully describe the event - say "promotion to sergeant," not just "promotion."
  • Spell things out - don't use abbreviations, acronyms or "military-ese."
  • Fill out the form completely. Don't forget things like your signature or Social Security number (the SSN is required only for forms that will be sent through the mail).
  • Your story will be distributed to newspapers based on ZIP codes. Be sure you have the correct ZIP codes on the form.
  • Use the comments block to clarify confusing family relationships or add information that might make your story more interesting.
  • The event or achievement must be recent - papers won't publish "old news."
  • The program is entirely VOLUNTARY. You do not have to participate if you do not wish to.
  • Don't fill out a release form and then write "Do Not Release" on it. That wastes everyone's time. If you don't want the info released, don't fill out and sign the form. Once you do, you've given your consent to release!
Hometown News Releases are created from the forms and emailed to newspapers in the area of residence of the servicemembers Next of Kin (NOK).



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Information above believed to be correct as of 2003-12-19




Q - Almost 8 months ago my church gave me the name of a one of our armed forces by my church to pray for. I know he is either in Afghanistan or Iraq but I can't even find out which branch of the military he is in. I would like to email him just to let him know I'm praying for him but I don't know how to get his email address. Can you help?
A - The possibility of locating a servicemember through military sources is virtually nil if the branch of service is unknown. At an absolute minimum, you will need his Name (First, Middle Initial, Last) and his duty station or unit. With that information, one might conceivably use the trial and error method to find his email address. See Email Troops, you will find instructions there for each branch of service.

The only alternative left, is to use one of the internet telephone directories. This method is not very effective for common names. You might locate his family, and they might help you. I recommend that you ask his family members to deliver a message. Please note that almost everyone is (or should be) suspicious of mail following the anthrax killings of 2001. Try these online telephone directories:

http://www.whitepages.com http://www.switchboard.com
http://search.bigfoot.com
http://people.yahoo.com

Try the following variations on his/her name:

last name only
last name and first initial
last name and first name
last name, first name and middle initial

Leave the town and state blank unless you are confident of your information.

And lastly, I wish to caution you that your attempts to contact a servicemember through his relatives may not be well received. You might be communicating with a companion that may suspect that you are a companion "away from home".

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2003-12-17



Q - Where is there link for service members (deployed & at home base) to post their holiday message?
A - 15 December 2004 - Feature removed: Earlier this year, the automated system was dropped because there were so many abusers of the system that allowed one to leave a message without any intervention or moderator. Visitors left some of the most horrible and hurtful writings I have every witnessed - and the worst thing is that they were directed at our servicemembers. And, now I am so swamped that I simply cannot afford the time to review and manually post each one. If there were a few a week spread out over a year, it would not be bad. But unfortunately, there were absolutely no "messages for the troops" all year long, and then with the coming of the holiday season, there is an absolute deluge of them. I apologize to everyone, particularly our troops.

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2003-12-14



Q - Is it possible to post a message from family/friend to a specific deployed service member & how?
A - No, there isn't, UNLESS YOU KNOW their full name (First, Middle Initial, Last). and the unit that he/she is assigned. Using that information, you can refer to the Email Troops page where advice is provided for each branch of service. Good Luck! If you try to do so, and keep getting bounced email, send me the information, and we will try to assist you. Here is my email address: webmaster@usafns.com.

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2003-12-14



Q - Do you link to AP (& others) on coverage of Iraq & if so how is an article submitted to your site?
A - NO, we don't link to AP. Nor, do we plan to. That service costs money, and this Website is funded solely by the webmaster from my military retirement pension. It should be noted that the wire services do not report houses that are 'not burning'. If someone sends us a news release that is a positive or 'feel good' story about one of our servicemembers, and we can confirm that the release is legitimate, with proper releases for photos, etc. We will publish it, just email it to me: webmaster@usafns.com.

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2003-12-14



Q - How many active duty service members are there?
A - The Wikipedia maintains a plethora of statistical information. Probably more than you ever wanted to know. Here is a link to their Website: DOD Statistical Information.

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2003-12-14



Q - Can troops send email from Iraq?
A - Maybe - Some of the Forward Operating Bases (FOB) and other field locations do not have the infrastructure installed to support email for the troops. Obviously, coalition forces are making every effort to bring email services to the troops. Email service provides daily contact with family and friends. The positive impact this has on troop morale cannot be measured.

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2003-12-14



Q - Are U.S. troops allowed to use email in Iraq?
A - Yes, but earlier there were reports that for access to a computer, lines of up to six hours were common, and often more. When they actually got to a computer, their time was limited to 10 or 15 minutes.

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2003-12-14



Q - How can we send donations to marines serving in Iraq?
A - We do not think that there is a means of sending donations directly to servicemembers unless you know them and their US Postal Service APO/FPO mail address. Current DOD restrictions can be viewed at TROOP SUPPORT MAIL POLICY STRESSED. We recommend that you consider donating to one of these reputable organizations Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society, and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. If you wish to donate time and/or funds, Operation Interdependence and American Red Cross can always use your assistance.

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2003-12-14



Q - What order should armed services branches be listed in?
A - Generally, the are listed in order of that they were authorized by the US Government. When the branch flags are displayed together, they are displayed in the same sequence, from left to right. Here is the list in the order formed:

US Army - formed June 14,1775 US Navy - formed October 13, 1775. US Marine Corps - formed November 10, 1775 US Coast Guard - formed 28 January 1915 (For history prior to that see USCG History) US Air Force - formed Sept. 18, 1947 (Earlier known as US Army Air Corps).

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2003-12-14



Q - Where can I find a list of the casualties in Iraq that were from my home state?
A - CNN maintains a list on their website. The names are listed alphabetically, and includes all casualties from all coalition forces. You will have to pick them out of the list, but they are there. There is a great deal of information about Gulf War II on CNN's site, including maps, heroes, chronology, aircraft, ships, weapons, new leaders, etc, etc. Here is the URL:

CNN: War in Iraq: U.S. & Coalition/Casualties: Alphabetical Listing

Department of Defense maintains a list at this URL:

Defend America - Fallen Warriors: Alphabetical Casualty List (Excel Spreadsheet).



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2003-12-14


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USAFNS
by
CW3 C. Mitchell, US Army (Ret.)

Copyright (C) 2002-2012 - All Rights Reserved.


Updated - Sunday, 06-May-2012 20:56:05 EDT