Notes taken at the NASW GA Conference in October 2017 during the lecture of William C. White, BSW, MSW, LCSW.

  1. S. M. stands for service member.
  2. The military has it’s own culture.
  3. Service members do not talk about things with an outsider.
  4. The family is viewed as a complete unit.
  5. The entire family is considered “in the military”.
  6. Distinct military culture is reflected in the beliefs, norms, and language.
  7. Everyone in the military are still unique individuals (they are not a homogenous group).
  8. People are not all the same even when they are in the military.
  9. People do try to have as normal a life as possible however they define normal.
  10. Service members are in a constant wartime tempo (are world wide deployable at all times).
  11. Service members are considered the property of the military.
  12. The military stresses to “keep everyone safe”.
  13. One goal of basic training is to strip away some of the “civilian”.
  14. There are emotional cycles of deployment.
  15. The LOVE AND LOGIC curriculum is used (parenting program).
  16. The average child in a military family will move 6-9 times during a school career.
  17. “A stinky member has a stinky home” (if a member has a terrible body odor it’s likely their home has poor sanitation as well).
  18. Officers are held to a higher standard than enlisted service members.  Know the ranks (enlisted, officer, warrant officer).
  19. Become familiar with the mission of each service branch as well as the duties associated with each mission (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard).
  20. Understand the core values of each branch:
    1. Air Force–Integrity first.
    2. Army–Loyalty.
    3. Coast Guard–Honor.
    4. Navy–Honor.
  21. “Sir” and “Maam” works if you don’t know the service member’s rank.
  22. Get a copy (for reference) of all the ranks of all the branches.
  23. There is limited confidentiality in regards to social work services with service members.
  24. Resiliency and the ability to “bounce back” will be understood by service members.


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