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In the military, OPSEC stands for Operational Security. There are rules and guidelines for OPSEC that pertain to services members and their families and friends. In this day and age with social media, there are a lot of bad guys out there looking for information to deter the safety and missions of our nation’s military.

WHAT IS OPSEC?

OPSEC protects US operations – planned, in progress, and those completed. OPSEC is keeping potential adversaries from discovering critical information about the Department of Defense. The military needs to accomplish the mission quickly and successfully. Success relies on secrecy, surprise, and private information. Enemies want this critical information, and they are not just after the military member to get it. They also look to military families and friends.

Unfortunately, OPSEC can’t be summed up in a brief list of rules and regulations and be expected to cover every possible situation. There are some general rules and guidelines to follow for military family members and friends.

RULES OF OPSEC

  1. Do not post detailed information about the mission of assigned units.
  2. Do not post details on locations and times of unit deployments.
  3. Do not list your spouse’s specific job on social media.
  4. Do not post where your spouse is ported.  
  5. Do not post about personnel transactions that occur in large numbers (Example: pay information, powers of attorney, wills, deployment information).
  6. Do not post details on locations and times of unit trainings
  7. Do not post unit/service member itineraries
  8. Do not post references to trends in unit morale or personnel problems.
  9. Do not post details concerning security procedures, response time, tactics.
  10. Do not post details Personal Identifying Information (PII)
  11. Do not post exact redeployment dates
  12. Do not reveal camp locations, including nearby cities. After the deployment is officially announced by Military officials, you may discuss locations that have been released, normally on the Country level.
  13. Do not discuss convoy routes (“we travelled through ‘such-and-such’ on our way to X”)
  14. Do not discuss equipment or lack thereof, to include training equipment
  15. Avoid the use of count-up or count-down tickers for the same reason as rule #1, if you do decide to use one, make sure only YOU and those you trust are able to see it.
  16. Be very careful if posting pictures of your loved one. Avoid images that show significant landmarks near their base of operations, and black out last names and unit affiliations.
  17. Do not, EVER, post information about casualties (coalition or enemy) before the official release of the information.
  18. Do not pass on rumors (“I heard they’re coming home early”, etc)

SOCIAL MEDIA
You may want to limit your posts to friends-only. Defaults can change on Facebook with no real notice, and suddenly you’re posting to the Public. If your FRG has a facebook group, ask the leader if it’s secret, closed, or public. What you post to a group may appear on other people’s timelines as well.

Photos
If you must post photos, consider cropping or blurring some details on pictures.

Geotagging
Make sure your location services setting is turned off, if you don’t want your or your spouse to be reporting where their location is.

Social media is not going away any time soon. More and more issues arise with social media and consequences hit much harder and much faster (with consequently less time to “undo” a mistake).

These OPSEC rules aren’t meant to limit your free speech or restrict your liberties- that’s exactly what our men and women in uniform fight to protect. They are put into place to help ensure the safety and security of our nation’s military.

If you have any questions, contact your (or your sponsor’s) unit OPSEC manager.

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MEMORIAL DAY 2019 FROM THE The United States Army Field Band (LISTEN)

The Rhode Island Blue Star Moms is a military support group specially dedicated to supporting our Veterans, troops and assisting the mothers and families who have children who volunteered to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

 

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We offer a safe place to share thoughts, concerns, and any personal stories that are kept solely within the group.

I am a military mom, one of many elite women. I stand beside my child with courage, strength and dignity. While I am not on the battlefield or in the foxhole, I am in the heart, mind and the character of my soldier sons and daughters.I support the Band of Mothers, who know just how I feel. Sharing encouragement, stories, laughter and tears for days or months or years.

Our sons and daughters were called to duty. (Listen)

NEXT MEETING IS TUESDAY MARCH 10 

We meet on the 2nd Tuesday of MARCH at 6pm at the FAC/Warwick Armory located at 541 Airport Rd., Warwick 02886

Email: RIBlueStarMoms@gmail.com

DIRECTIONS 

We offer a safe place to share thoughts, concerns, and any personal stories that are kept solely within the group.

I am a soldier’s mother; I sometimes march alone
And yet I stand with many, trying to be strong.
You may not recognize me as you pass me on the street; I may look like any other that you by chance might meet.
Like any mother, in a lot of ways I still remain,
But watching my son become a soldier brought a forever change.
For deep down inside where you cannot see
My own battle rages that’s as real as it can be.
It starts with feeling pride in all he has become,
But often worry creeps in before the day is done.
Then there is his absence that never will seem right –
The days without a word that causes many sleepless nights.
And at the sight of another soldier, my heart skips a beat,
For it reminds me of my own, and that face I’d love to see.
And I have a deeper sense of the sacrifices our heroes make;
I can see the hardships on the families – the loneliness, the heartache.
But in spite of all that’s raging, this mother’s love holds strong
As I’m wrapped in God’s peace and comfort and given strength to go on.
© Cynthia Gibbs

Who We Are

The Rhode Island Blue Star Moms is a military support group specially dedicated to supporting our Veterans, troops and assisting the mothers and families who have children who volunteered to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

A chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America, the RI Blue Star Moms provide military family support throughout the state of RI. Throughout the year, we create and send military care packages to show our loved ones that they are our heroes, that we appreciate their service and that we continue to support them while they are away from home.We share our concerns, our support, our pride and our devotion for our loved ones serving in the United States Armed Forces. Through various events and activities, we support fellow Blue Star Moms, associate members, our children serving in the military, our veterans and our community. We provide military family support to benefit our members and their families and we promote causes that will benefit military personnel through a military advocacy program.The RI Blue Star Moms is a non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-discriminatory and non-profit organization. Our mission is to support fellow Blue Star members, their sons, daughters and any other family members who are currently serving or have served in the United States military. The Service flag is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for display by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces during any period of war or hostilities the United States may be engaged in for the duration of such hostilities.

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The RI Bar Association US Armed Forces Legal Services Project is specifically designed to provide those serving in the military, eligible veterans, and their families with legal assistance. Volunteer attorneys directly represent military personnel in critically needed areas of civil law.

Services

  • Direct legal representation of military personnel, veterans, and families in areas of civil law.
  • Cases can include family law, probate issues, landlord/tenant, real estate, contracts, consumer, bankruptcy, collections, employment, immigration/naturalization, and income tax.
  • Cases may not involve initiation of a law suit.
  • Services are provided pro bono by volunteer lawyers.

Eligibility

  • Current active duty, Reserve, and National Guard members and their families. -OR-
  • Retired service members and their families. -OR-
  • Service-connected veterans and their families.

Armed Forces Legal Services Project

The Rhode Island Bar Association United States Armed Forces Legal Services Project is specifically designed to provide those serving in the military and their families with legal assistance. Coordinated with the Attorney-Advisor at the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, volunteer attorneys directly represent military personnel by accepting civil law cases including family law, probate issues, landlord/tenant, real estate, contracts, consumer, bankruptcy, collections, employment, immigration/naturalization, and income tax. For additional information on this project,
contact the Lawyer Referral Service at: (401) 421-7799 or by email eking@ribar.com.

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2nd Annual Gold Star Gala

Reserve Your Tickets Here

2nd Annual Gold Star GalaJoin Operation Stand Down RI for our 2nd Annual Gold Star Gala. The Gala, to be held at Twin River Casino on Friday, May 18, 2018 is a night to honor Rhode Island’s Gold Star Families post 9/11. The term “Gold Star” refers to a family member who had a loved one killed in action during a war time in a foreign country while serving their nation. On this night, we honor the families left behind, remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and to raise money for the Boots on The Ground for Heroes Memorial.

 

2nd Annual Gold Star Gala

This year the Gala is honored to announce our keynote speaker:  Lt. Colonel Justin Constantine, USMC, Retired. Our speaker, Justin Constantine joined the U.S. Marine Corps while in law school at the University of Denver School of Law and served as a JAG officer for six years.  As a reservist, Justin deployed to Iraq in 2006, serving as a Civil Affairs Team Leader while attached to an infantry battalion.  During a combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper. For his service in Iraq, Justin earned the Purple Heart Combat Action Ribbon and Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal. Justin retired from the Marine Corps at the rank of Lt. Colonel.  He is now an inspirational speaker and veteran advocate.

 


Boots on The Ground for Heroes MemorialThe Gold Star Gala will be the official kick off to OSDRI’s presentation of the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial at Roger Williams Park, Memorial Day Weekend. In 2016, OSDRI launched the Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial with the widely acclaimed and dramatic display of nearly 7,000 military boots adorned with name placards and flags representing each American service member killed in the Global War on Terror. The first of its kind, the display garnered local and national news coverage for the past two years and continues to grow

 

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On a comfortable Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with Karen Dalton at her Dare to Dream Ranch on Snagwood road in Foster, RI.
When you arrive at the ranch you are met by 2 super friendly dogs, Bear and Bella, who wag themselves silly while the 3 goats, Frick, Frack & Frank, are also bleating their hello’s. As we walked through the barn with the fresh smell of shavings and hay Karen explained her vision for converting the barn into a woodworking workshop when they build their indoor riding arena with attached barn that would have a loft apartment above for a qualified veteran to stay for free as the caretaker for the property.
We arrived at the first paddock where a gorgeous Percheron/Gypsy Vanner Draft cross named Seargent Xander and his sidekick Corporal Buzz. Xander sometimes is a bit skiddish with his own trust issues. So a slow approach and soft voice is the best approach for making friends with this beautiful huge horse. Next door is Captain Blue, named for his beautiful brilliant blue eye. He is as friendly as Seargent Xander is reserved. He was having fun moving the miniature horses , Freedom and Spirit, out of the way so he could their hay. Spirit enjoyed trying to nibble my hair through the fence while I was petting her and Blue. Hard not to relax and just chat with so much peace surrounding you. We visited the 2 senior, yet still very noble, Arabians names Ishrab and Tabitha.
I had the pleasure of watching Steve Frye, 2x Iraq Combat Vet, not only riding Sgt. Xander, but also learning to train him. Steve only began riding and working with horses 4 months ago! I was impressed to watch Steve’s ease of haltering Sgt. Xander in the paddock, saddling him and especially riding him! 4 months is not a long time for someone to learn to ride, build trust with a horse who has trust issues and build your own confidence in the saddle. I was able to watch Steve achieve all of this and with such confidence and pride!
As Karen & I strolled through the wooded paths listening to the quiet we discussed her dreams for future expansion of the facility, the paddocks, the rings and the trails. She shared some of the positive results of Veterans, and their families, who have already visited the Ranch for equine therapy (equine assisted coaching/ground therapy) , yoga, horticulture therapy and nutrition education, woodworking, and fly tying/fishing.
On a quiet, sunny Friday afternoon we both Dared to Dream of our hopes for Veterans and their families who will visit in the future.

Rhonda Ziehl, USAF,
RI Blue Star Moms