For an organization that is constantly shining a light on things that would rather be kept out of the public eye, the moderators of U.S. Army WTF! Moments have done a remarkably impressive job at staying anonymous.
That is, until Monday.
On the first day of the Association of the U.S. Army conference, a member from USAWTFM finally revealed himself as Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Ramos, a retired psychological operations soldier with almost 30 years total service experience, who is behind the Monday edition of WTF Nation radio and found at @WTFIOguy on Twitter.
Ramos was speaking on a panel at the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference on Monday focusing on social media, and was joined by Brig. Gen. Patrick Donahoe (@PatDonahoeArmy on Twitter), the deputy commanding general of operations with the Eighth Army in South Korea; Kelsey Cochran (@LadyLovesTaft) an Army lieutenant and public affairs officer; and Col. Steve Leonard (@Doctrine_Man), a retired former senior military strategist.
In a profession as tight-lipped as the military, it's unusual, to say the least, to find leaders willing to speak openly on social media without coming across as a public-affairs generated cyborg. Ramos specifically spoke mostly about why USAWTFM does what it does: shining a light on the some of the hysterical (and not-so-hysterical) mishaps and realities of serving in the U.S. Army.
"We've been told that we're oath-breakers or we're not doing this, it's against Army values and norms," Ramos said. "Well we're still providing assistance to veterans and their families."
When asked what values USAWTFM was upholding, Ramos said to "go down the list.
"It's my job as an operations officer — it's in my statement in the NCO creed that says, specifically — the mission accomplishment and the welfare of my soldiers. When I retired, 1.4 million people became my soldiers."
The panel got into the issue of service members talking about politics on social media — something that USAWTFM has experience with. Ramos said that they "got a bunch of crap during the election" for veering into politics, but that all they were trying to do was get news out to listeners who may otherwise have a hard time getting it.
"We get feedback from downrange, we get feedback from soldiers who are deployed," Ramos said. "It wasn't to provide any partisan type of politics, it was just to bring the news from home out to them."
And as for how it started, Ramos said a group of guys were talking about having seen a goat running at a FOB in Afghanistan. The goat was dragging an M4 and being chased by a soldier — because of course — when someone watching had an understandable enough response.