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March 5,  2003

GI Mail provides secure, reliable e-mail link to loved ones

By Cynthia Bauer
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AMCNS) - With airmen deployed away from home, the opportunity to communicate with loved takes on greater importance.

"To provide a link back home, Air Force Crossroads, the Air Force's official community Web site, offers a secure and reliable e-mail program through Global Internet Mail to help families keep in touch," said Capt. Greg Whitaker of the Headquarters Air Mobility Command Network Operations and Security Center.

"Although there are other nonprofit and commercial e-mail and Internet services available, military members need to understand GI Mail is sponsored and maintained by the Air Force. We can't verify the operational capability or security of other such services," he said.

Registration for GI Mail is free for those eligible through the Air Force Crossroads Web site at Members can log into the Web-based system from any computer with Internet access. Eligible users include active duty, Reserve, National Guard, retired or Civil Service employees and their authorized family members.  

Whitaker said there are three great reasons to use GI Mail: security, bandwidth and availability.

 "You've probably heard about the various break-ins and hacker attacks at free commercial e-mail providers," he said. "GI Mail is a Department of Defense system, employing the same great security you've grown accustomed to in AMC," he said.

On bandwidth, unlike commercial providers, there is no advertising or "spamming" from junk mail distributors on GI Mail. "Not only will the service remain speedy even in the most remote or forward locations, users won' spend time sifting through mountains of junk mail," Whitaker said. "And GI Mail is a DoD product provided for morale. Unlike civilian services, the system will get the attention and maintenance that our deployed personnel deserve."

In addition to GI Mail, the Air Force Crossroads Web site also offers forums and online chat rooms, and has online videoconferencing tools under development. Access the Web site and click on "Communications Center" for additional information.

According to CeCe Medford, chief of AMC's Family Matters Branch, families who don't have computers or Internet access can rely on Family Support Centers for help.

"Our Family Support Centers have gone the extra mile to ensure families can stay in touch, even without a home computer," she said. "The FSCs have computers with connections to Internet service providers available for families to use."

Medford said that family readiness NCOs can explain video teleconferencing, how to borrow digital and video cameras, sign up for morale calls, and how to take advantage of special family activities.

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