News

Share Your Sailors' Stories with Millions of Americans

by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian T. Glunt, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

Sharing Sailors’ stories and photos with millions of Americans across the country has never been easier, and doing so can help increase Navy awareness nationwide.

The American Connections program tells the Navy’s story in newspapers, on radio and TV stations, in online publications and via social networks through the eyes of individual Sailors by using their local connections to cities and towns across the country. In addition to the recognition the program provides for Sailors and their commands, the stories help Americans throughout the country better understand their Navy, its mission and its contribution to national security.

Simply include a local connection with every news release and photo caption and share that content by adding This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to the command’s media distribution list.  Local connections can be hometowns, family ties, high schools or colleges attended as well as the relationships that exist between Navy units and their namesake cities and states.

The Navy Office of Community Outreach will share Sailors' stories and photos with local media throughout the country and then provide a link to all media coverage back to the command public affairs officer, who can then share the link with the Sailor to pass on to family and friends. The public affairs officer may also find it beneficial to share with the chain of command showing how the programs helps disseminate the command’s mission.

An additional benefit of the program is the positive impact on the morale of participating Sailors and namesake units.

"The American Connections Media Outreach Program has made a quantum leap in connecting our Sailors to their hometown communities by simplifying and modernizing the process of sharing Sailors' stories with their local community,” said Capt. Jeff Bierly, commanding officer, USS Frank Cable (AS 40). “More than 90 Frank Cable Sailors have participated in the process with very positive feedback of how simple the process was and how impactful it was on their friends and families to hear about their successes in their forward-deployed assignment on our ship.  This program allows us to share the pride we have in the accomplishments of our Sailors with their local communities across the country, and improves the American public's understanding of what our Sailors do every day in support of our great Nation."

Since the program officially began in June 2016, announced in NAVADMIN 148/16, more than 15,200 stories, photos and other content have been shared with newspapers, television and radio stations, blogs and social media nationwide, reaching more than 100 million Americans per year who otherwise may never have heard about their Navy.

"The American Connections programs is something that, as a shipboard PAO, I cannot do without," said Chief Mass Communication Specialist Charles L. Ludwig, PAO aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). "I literally extend the reach of our public affairs program around the world with the program's help. The professionals on their team work extremely hard at ensuring media outlets well off our Navy's 'radar' receive products that help us meet the mission of telling our Sailors' stories. They remind everyone that our Sailors are truly the Navy's most important asset."

Throughout the year, NAVCO offers several radio shout-out opportunities allowing Sailors to record a 15-second greeting, which is shared with local radio stations where Sailors have local connections. The shout-outs are based on a script NAVCO sends out prior to each event. Units wishing to be notified of future radio shout-out opportunities can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Another great way to use the program is the media advisory service. Preserving a popular capability from the former Fleet Hometown News program, NAVCO notifies local media when Sailors are promoted, receive an award, earn a warfare qualification, complete a deployment or achieve other recognition. Sailors may submit material for this service by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NAVCO will also provide media feedback reports with links to all coverage.

NAVCO also provides training with command public affairs teams on how to produce and share their own feature stories.

Every year NAVCO deploys a small production team on approximately 20 media production visits to commands worldwide to write feature stories and take portraits of their Sailors doing their jobs while completing their command’s mission. These stories are sent to each area where Sailors have local connections as well as posted on www.navyoutreach.blogspot.com. After the visit, NAVCO provides each participating command with media feedback reports and links to all coverage. This is another great way to showcase the command and its Sailors.