New Program Connects Iraq-Deployed Troops to U.S. Public

American military members serving in Iraq have an additional opportunity to share their experiences with the U.S. public, thanks to a new public outreach initiative, a senior U.S. military officer said today in Baghdad.

"The 'Share the Story' initiative is a new program that's designed to connect U.S. military personnel with organizations and groups like yours," Navy Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, told stateside-based representatives of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Reserve Officers' Association and others during a telephone conference call.

Military members of all ranks and service branches serving in Iraq who are slated to return stateside for leave or duty rotation "will have an excellent opportunity to share their story with the folks who want to hear it," Fox said.

The Multinational Force Iraq Web site, www.mnf-iraq.com, provides a "Share the Story" link where interested Iraq-deployed servicemembers register to participate in the program, Fox said. Servicemembers can choose to discuss their Iraq experiences with interested groups while on leave in their hometowns, he said, or with organizations situated near upcoming stateside assignments.

"Share the Story" is managed by Multinational Force Iraq, Fox said, noting the new initiative supplements the Defense Department's "Why We Serve" public outreach program that was introduced last fall.

Fox likened the "Share the Story" Web link to "a virtual tool" that connects veterans groups and other interested organizations to servicemembers who can provide their unique, individual perspectives on military service in Iraq.

The admiral said he's excited about the new program's potential to tell interested groups about servicemembers' experiences in Iraq, Fox said.

"We understand the nature of the (public) curiosity and desire to know about what we're about and our mission," the admiral said.

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