Electronic Blackouts and Fearing the Worst
One of the reasons my posting to this blog is sporadic is that Internet connectivity has to be available for me to post. Most of the time it is, but when an event occurs that may result in bad news for families at home, the military implements an electronic blackout, shutting down all communication channels that soldiers routinely use to contact their loved ones.
In the event of a mortar attack, the first email that comes from headquarters is implementation of the blackout. Off goes the Internet. Off go the commercial phones in the AT&T phone trailer.
A blackout occurred after our aircraft crashed -- and it probably saved many family members unnecessary grief. If one or two soldiers had been able to call home after the crash, their own families would have been reassured. But the families would have called other families in the unit and told them about the crash -- and those families might have begun to fear the worst.
Since all of the crew members were okay, families would have been alarmed for no reason.
So far, blackouts have lasted as little as a few minutes and as long as a few days. Knowing this, I have taken a rather minimalist approach to keeping in touch with my family -- only conversing with them over email about once a week and calling about once a month. I just would not want to establish a pattern that would cause alarm for no reason if I decided to break that pattern.
In this kind of work, I think random contact with home is best. This way home does not fear the worst when they do not hear from us.
I am sure I will hear your opinion on this subject.
-- Written 4/11
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