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TroopTube Gives Morale Boost to Deployed Servicemembers

Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2008 – Overseas-deployed servicemembers can receive video “shout-outs” from home, as well as senior-leader messages, thanks to the new TroopTube online information service, according to military officials. TroopTube is a new Web site managed by the Defense Department’s Military OneSource online information network. It is patterned after YouTube, the popular commercial video site, said Gail Lobisone, who works with Military OneSource at U.S. Army Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command in Alexandria, Va. It can be accessed at www.trooptube.tv/home.

Each armed service manages a MilitaryOneSource.com site that connects servicemembers and families to assistance programs that deal with moving, finances, deployment, childcare and other military-life issues.

The TroopTube concept is right for the times, Lobisone said during a Nov. 14 interview with the Pentagon Channel. Today’s soldiers, she said, “like the ability to connect through technology.”

TroopTube is expected to raise troop morale by providing near-real-time communication to loved ones back home, said Army Col. Brick T. Miller, U.S. Army Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command’s deputy commander and chief of staff. The in-house communications system, he added, also helps the military to conserve Internet bandwidth.

Deployed servicemembers can access TroopTube to view their children’s stateside high school graduations, birthdays and other notable family events, Miller said. Single soldiers, he added, can keep current with parents, siblings and friends back home.

Sites like TroopTube exemplify and provide “what the younger soldiers want today to be able to communicate with their families,” Miller said. TroopTube helps to ease the minds of overseas-deployed servicemembers, he said, while helping family members stay in touch.

“We see it as a way of lowering the stress level,” Miller said. “This is a way of getting closer to real-time gratification, which is what the Millennium Generation is used to.”

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