Army News Overwatch

Welcome Home: MI with 1st Armored Division
     Two of the 1st Armored Division’s MI soldiers returned earlier this year to the Bad Kneuznach, Germany area from the strife and destruction that is Bosnia-Herzegovina. The division, reinforced with other V Corps units, became IFOR’s Task Force Eagle. The troops crossed the Sava River bridge into Bosnia, Dec. 31, 1995.

     They endured "mud, mud, and more mud, and the worst Bosnian winter on record," said Col. Benny Williams, commander, 16th Force Support Group. "The challenges were the troops against the elements and simply getting the job done. Sacrifices were made, but the reward was saying we did our job and we did it to standard."

     Among those welcomed home were Capt. Christine Sandoval and Spec. Gail Estrella of the 1st Armored Division’s 501st MI Battalion.

     For Sandoval, it was a long year — "very rewarding professionally, but very tiring," she said. "The challenge was overcoming the routine. It was definitely a ground hog day; you had to overcome that. It was wonderful to come home. Stay alert," Sandoval advised to those replacing her.

     Spec. Gail Estrella was an all-source intelligence analyst in Tuzla. "I got to do my real job and plenty of it," she said. "There were plenty of long hours."

     The challenge was being patient, "learning to hang in there, and learning not to walk on the grass," she said, referring to the minefields. "I don’t even walk on the grass now. It’s an instinct. You just had to keep your bearings at all times, because you’re not useful to anyone if you’re hurt."

     "The soldiers and their families are very proud of what they’ve accomplished. We’re all very happy to be home," said Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, division commander. (Linda D. Kozaryn, American Forces Press Service)

DoD: Think Before Altering Image
     If you’re "creative" with photo images displayed on your computer, be sure you don’t do too much of a good thing. To ensure the absolute credibility of official DoD imagery in and outside the Department of Defense, there are limits to how much you can enhance an image.

     The alteration of official DoD imagery by persons acting for or on behalf of the Department of Defense is prohibited, except as follows:

     1. Photographic techniques common to traditional darkrooms and digital imaging stations such as dodging, burning, color balancing, spotting and contrast adjustment which are used to achieve the accurate recording of an event or object are not considered alterations.

     2. Photographic and video image enhancement, exploitation, and simulation techniques used to support unique cartography, topography, engineering, geodesy, intelligence, criminal investigation, medical; research, development, test & evaluation; scientific, and training requirements are authorized if they do not misrepresent the subject of the original image.

     3. Obvious masking of portions of a photographic image in support of specific security, criminal investigation, privacy, or legal requirements is authorized.

     4. The use of cropping, editing, or enlargement to selectively isolate, link, or display a portion of a photographic or video image is not considered alteration. Cropping, editing, or image enlargement which has the effect of misrepresenting the facts or circumstances of the event or object as originally recorded is prohibited.

     5. The digital conversion and compression of official DoD imagery is authorized.

     6. Photographic and video post-production enhancement, including animation, digital simulation, graphics, and special effects, used for dramatic or narrative effect in education, recruiting, safety and training illustrations, publications, or productions is authorized under either of the conditions in subparagraph D.4.f.(l) or D.4.f.(2). The conditions are (1)the enhancement does not misrepresent the subject of the original image; or (2) it is clearly and readily apparent from the context or from the content of the image or accompanying text that the enhanced image is not intended to be an accurate representation of any actual event. (DoD directive 5040.5, John P. White, deputy secretary of defense)

No Web Site Advertising
     If you’ve been surfing the Internet lately, you may have noticed a morale, welfare and recreation activity advertising on its web site. If you are thinking of advertising on your military site, think again.

     HQDA guidance prohibits commercial advertising on Army web sites! The prohibition is still in place for all Army web sites.

     Army morale, welfare and recreation activity is considered a unique category separate from official Army sites. This activity can advertise by virtue of its nonappropriated funds instrumentality status and the DoD instruction which permits such activity by that particular type of organization. (PA Forum)

Travel Safeguards
     While traveling at home or abroad, U.S. service members must take precautions against becoming a target for terrorist activities.

     "As U.S. military members, we are official representatives of the U.S. government," said Sgt. 1st Class John Hilton, intelligence noncommissioned officer with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Operations Division. "As U.S. representatives, we automatically become targets for terrorist activities. The Department of the Army is renewing its focus on protecting the force."

     New DA pre-deployment training initiatives require people traveling overseas to have an anti-terrorism force protection briefing.

     Recently released DA guidance states that effective immediately, all continental United States commands will implement Level I individual anti-terrorism awareness training for any personnel deploying overseas. This includes personnel departing the United States for any reason.

     Family members are also encouraged to receive training if traveling overseas.

     Foreign countries are categorized by the potential terrorist threat level and updated by the U.S. State Department when necessary. Level one countries are labeled as "negligible or low threats," and level two countries as "medium or high threats."

     Common OPSEC guidance includes not revealing unit deployment plans, troop strength, weapons and weapon capabilities, and unit organizational tasks. (Staff Sgt. Jim Bolton, the Traveler, Fort Lee, Va. for Army News Service)

Promotion Packets
     Soldiers may see quicker promotions thanks to recent changes made by Department of the Army which allow them to tally promotion points for their packets much sooner.

     According to a recent Military Personnel message, annual point recompilations are a thing of the past. The only procedures for adding or subtracting points are re-evaluations or promotion point adjustments.

     In the message, the points needed for re-evaluation have been changed from 25 to 20. Once added to a soldier’s packet, these promotion points become effective 90 days after they are entered into the system, not when they are received at a unit servicing personnel center.

     In addition, soldiers can request to add less than 20 points if authorized by the Adjutant General. A request can be made only by soldiers whose current score is 781 or higher. The Adjutant General will approve the request when soldiers have increased their current scores by at least one-third of the remaining point total needed to reach the 800-point ceiling.

     For most soldiers, this new change can greatly improve their chances for a more rapid promotion. However, there is a risk involved. Soldiers must sign a statement saying they understand the recompilation will take precedence over a current promotion list standing. Soldiers must also understand that if a board does not recommend promotion or if the soldiers don’t acquire the minimum required points to be placed on a promotion list, they will be immediately removed from the current standing list. (Staff Sgt. Jim Bolton, the Traveler, Fort Lee, Va., for Army News)

Credit Card Errors
     Credit card companies are not infallible, even though they are computerized. When your monthly statement arrives, you should check whether there are errors on your bill, such as wrong amounts charged or no credit for returned items. Also check for charges to your account that you have not made.

     If you find an error, send the credit card company a letter within 60 days of the date of erroneous statement. Send this letter to the "billing error address" noted on either your monthly statement or credit card contract. Only a letter protects your legal rights; telephone calls do not.

     Include in your letter your name, account number, billing address, and the date, type and dollar amounts of the transaction in dispute. Clearly state why you consider it erroneous. The credit card company must then inform you that your letter was received and whether they will or will not correct the error and why.

     Make sure to pay the charges on your monthly statement which are not disputed; otherwise you will be in breach of your credit card agreement. (1st Lt. Susan Szymanski, legal assistance attorney)

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   Last Updated: July 02, 1997