CENTCOM launches redesigned Web site, newsletters
by Army Sgt. Matt Murphy
"Reach out and touch someone" may be passť as a commercial jingle, but it has a whole new meaning at U.S. Central Command. In an effort to tell the stories behind the men and women serving throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa, CENTCOM is using an electronic newsletter to get the word out. CENTCOM distributes the newsletter weekly.
"There is so much more going on in our theaters of operation other than battles," said Maj. Kevin O'Neill, a member of the Arizona Army National Guard deployed as a public affairs officer for CENTCOM. "So many of our service members are in these countries building roads, building schools, providing water and electricity and even basic medical care. These stories are the ones you may not see on the six o'clock news. They tell the rest of the story from Iraq and Afghanistan," O'Neill said.
The CENTCOM electronic newsletter is part of new initiative to reach a broader audience and share the rebuilding and reconstruction efforts U.S. troops are performing throughout CENTCOM's area of operations. Villages in Afghanistan are getting running water for the first time, power is being restored throughout Iraq, and millions of children are being vaccinated.
These stories would otherwise go unheard and unread. The electronic newsletter allows CENTCOM to ensure these deeds do not go unnoticed.
The newsletter is available via e-mail or can be downloaded off the CENTCOM web site, which was also recently redesigned, at www.centcom.mil. Signing up for the newsletter allows individuals to receive it automatically via e-mail.
One subscriber from the U.S. sent in an e-mail saying, "Thank you. This is what media should be reporting." Another from Portugal wrote, "Keep the up good work in Iraq." Other messages come from individuals with well wishes and thanks for providing information that may be unavailable through regular news sources.
CENTCOM launched the newsletter the first week of November 2004. Since then there have been more than 2,000 subscribers in more than 36 countries. Stories and photographs for the newsletter typically come directly from service members on the front lines. This provides the opportunity to pass along the more positive events overseas.
In addition to the CENTCOM electronic newsletter, the Public Affairs Operations Center also assists the Coalition with its own electronic newsletter. The Coalition newsletter is also available via the Web at www.centcom.mil and has over 1,800 subscribers.