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Missouri National Guard launches new Web site

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - --  The Missouri National Guard unveiled its overhauled Web site, MoGuard.com, this week.

The new site includes a front page that allows Web surfers to customize their visit based on their relationship to the Guard. Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, said the Web site will bring the Guard and the community closer together.

"This new Web site makes the Missouri National Guard more accessible to our members, Families, retirees and supporters," Danner said. "Not only will we be able to get information out to the community in a more efficient manner, but it will be easier for individuals to get the information they need from us, whether that's the latest Missouri Guard news or to download a form they need."

The Web site can serve as a guide to Guard members from when they are thinking about enlisting all the way through retirement. The 27th Recruiting and Retention Battalion used the new Web site as an opportunity to make the enlistment process as painless and personalized as possible, said Maj. Larry Crowder, battalion commander.

"This Web site will ensure that our newest Guard members are well-informed on their decision and options before they even meet a recruiter," Crowder said. "Joining the military can be an intimidating process - we hope that with our new, more personalized Web experience we can make that process go as smoothly as possible."

In the past, recruits were directed to a national recruiting Web site. Now, recruits can 'meet' their local recruiter before setting foot inside an office, Crowder said. Each recruiter has his or her own online calling card which includes contact information, a photo and a mini-biography with further information on the recruiter.

Once recruits have enlisted, there are a number of resources available to them including military education tools like the Stripes for Skills program. These tools will help Soldiers be better prepared for the rigors of basic and advanced training.

For Soldiers and Airmen who have already been through training, the site has a number of resources available. In addition to forms needed for career advancement and easily accessible information on benefits and programs, the site allows individual units to get information to their troops, said state public affairs officer Maj. Tamara Spicer.

"Most units, all the way down to the detachment level, have a monthly newsletter that gives Soldiers and Airmen a heads up about their next drills," Spicer said. "In the past, mailing or e-mailing that information wasn't always a sure bet. Now, units can simply upload the newsletter to their unit's page so that it is easily accessible for all their troops."

The site allows users to upload a wide variety of file types with Scribd. These will include pdfs, power points and word documents. By uploading the files as they are, the site is cutting down on the hours previously needed to re-format products to get them Web ready.

Spicer said the new site integrates social media into its design.

"When we launched the old Web site, Facebook and Twitter didn't exist like they do today," Spicer said. "Now, we can link to those sites that that any information we post on one is accessible elsewhere. It is making our communications efforts more streamlined and effective."

Spicer said the new Web site marks a new era in Guard communication.

"We are always looking for ways to tell the Guard's story in a new, exciting way - we're proud of our Soldiers, Airmen, Families and retirees," Spicer said. "This new site is simply a way of updating that story and keeping up with the times. In one day we have basically gone from reading the story in a book to reading it on a Kindle