Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

January 10, 2012 at 3:20am

The misadventures of Airman Snuffy McDufflebag: Social media

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- First off, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the first team in 2012 to get Tebow'd. As I entered my place of work, I symbolically dropped to one knee and asked God once again why the Cowboys have only won one playoff game since 1995 and as I rose to my feet I sadly remembered Tim Tebow and Tony Romo now have the same amount of playoff wins. So what? I can still enjoy this!

As I logged onto Facebook, I noticed a familiar face in my timeline with a tagline that said, "Check out this idiot." There he was: Airman Snuffy McDufflebag and his 1st Lt. Wet B. Hinddaears at an "Occupy Stipclubs" football party in full uniform drinking a beer bong. He was invited by Presidential Candidate Montgomery Brewster and running mate Randy Watson. They offered them both a .999 percent discount for entry if they were in military in uniform.

As I dug further, I found out through Snuffy's status that he meant to send the picture to a friend and accidentally posted it to his Facebook wall, and the rest is now social media history. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, so I immediately called Master Sgt. Johnny Mentor.

He answered with a long sigh. "I already know... it's on CNN!" he said without asking what I was calling for. I was the 248th caller of the day. What was he thinking, I asked Sergeant Mentor.

Sergeant Mentor went on to explain he had made all the Airmen in his shop read the Air Force pamphlet "Social Media and the Air Force," produced by the Air Force Public Affairs Agency Emerging Technology Division.

He said he focused on the part that states, "Airmen should note that anytime they engage in social media, they are representing the Air Force and therefore should not do anything that will discredit themselves or the Air Force."

He added that it goes on to say, "Airmen must abide by certain restrictions to ensure good order and discipline. All Airmen are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and all actions are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Even if Airmen state they are not representing the Air Force, other audiences may not interpret the information that way."

He also said officials advise Airmen to be careful of the details, text, photos and video posted to profiles on MySpace, Twitter and Facebook and other social networks. Employers and adversaries can search these sites, and there are numerous examples of people losing a job due to their inappropriate photos or comments.

"Airmen, by the nature of the business, are always on the record and must always represent the core values, even on the Web: Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all that is done," the pamphlet stated.

Even armed with all this information, Snuffy still resorted to his habitual line-stepping ways.

While I kind of found the picture funny, I realized it was no laughing matter. I learned we should all be good Wingmen for ourselves and other Airmen around us--if you see something that doesn't look or feel right, it probably isn't.

I also learned it was safer to ask questions about what you can or cannot do, before you find yourself in a situation where you can't easily press delete.

I know I will be careful with what I do both in and out of uniform when it comes to social media. I know I learned my lesson, but as for Snuffy, I am sure he will be at it again.

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