Military blog Blackfive.net today stopped posting updates and was joined by other military bloggers in protest of what they describe as an increasingly hostile environment from within the military.
According to Blackfive’s “Mr. Wolf,” military blogs, or milblogs, have been a vital source for the public of accurate news, analysis and information about the military and military operations.
“While senior leadership has embraced blogging and social media, many field-grade officers and senior NCOs do not embrace the concept. From general apathy in not wanting to deal with the issue to outright hostility to it, many commands are not only failing to support such activities, but are aggressively acting against active duty milbloggers, milspouses, and others. The number of such incidents appears to be growing, with milbloggers receiving reprimands, verbal and written, not only for their activities but those of spouses and supporters,” the posting said.
The spark that ignited the blackout – at least one day for the military bloggers, longer for some – was the treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Soldier’s Perspective, whose problems with his command were reported by WND last week.
According to Wolf, “C.J. has earned accolades and respect from the White House on down for his honest, and sometimes blunt, discussion of issues – particularly (posttraumatic stress disorder). In the last few months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this. Ultimately, C.J. has had to sell his blog to help raise funds for his defense in this matter.”
Blackfive.net reported all military bloggers involved agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. Grisham at the top of their sites until Friday. They are urging their readers to contact their representatives in Congress.
WND’s earlier report described a decision by school officials in Huntsville, Ala., to go to Grisham’s military commanders and complain when he objected to their plan to require students, including his children, to spend $400 on uniforms.
“This case is not about me versus the school district,” wrote Grisham, a 15-year Army veteran, master sergeant and military
blogger who was invited by President George W. Bush to the White
House for a historic sit-down meeting with a select gathering of milbloggers.
“It’s about parental rights and the limits of our educators in dealing with parental concerns, especially when those parents are in the military.”
But, he confirmed, “I am pursuing a lawsuit to clear my name and force the school system to admit they overstepped their bounds by denying my right to participate in my children’s education and attempt to ruin my career.”
Grisham now is the the cover story for Off Duty, an insert
included in the Military Times, the magazine for the Army, Air
Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
Grisham’s photo is overlaid with the headline: “The Rise and Fall of a Military Blogger – Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham didn’t mince words. His readers loved it. His command hated it.”
Grisham is in a new kind of fight after taking down a squad of Iraqis when his
counterintelligence detachment was pinned down in an ambush. He earned a Bronze Star with Valor after rushing through the gunfire
by himself with just a nine-millimeter pistol and a hand grenade.
Before signing off permanently from his blogsite “A Soldier’s Perspective,” Grisham told his 1,500-plus readers:
“In September, my kids brought home a note from their
school stating that the school would transition to uniforms
beginning in January – midway through the school year.
Naturally, this concerned me as the cost for each kid (I have
two who would be affected) would be at least $400. A note home
to parents assured us that the principal would entertain
concerns during the upcoming ‘uniform fashion
show.’ However, the principal ended that meeting
without answering a question, even though numerous hands were
up. After that meeting, I organized parents with concerns and
began a letter-writing and phone-calling campaign to members
of the school board and media. We succeeded in getting the
uniform issue tabled until next year. But parents still
weren’t given a voice about whether we even wanted
Instead of dealing with Grisham and other parents who disagreed
with her new policy, the school’s principal contacted the
Army, saying Grisham had threatened her, the blog reports.
“She pointed to posts on my personal blog about her behavior
at the meeting as proof. However, after being referred to
military investigators, they concluded that I had never issued
any threats through e-mail, blog or otherwise. I collected
letters from other parents attesting to my behavior at the
meeting,” Grisham wrote.
However, the Army took a dim view of the conflict.
“Suddenly, I was a troublemaker after 15 years of honorable service,” he wrote.
Attempts to obtain comment from the school were unsuccessful.