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2006 Milbloggy Award winners announced

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Yesterday the lucky winners of the second Milbloggies awards were announced by JP Borda, webmaster of Milblogging.com, and inventor of the awards for the best military bloggers.

Winners are decided by voting among the registered users of Borda's site, which is "the world's biggest index of military blogs."

The military blogster community has received a certain amount of attention from more mainstream media in the past, especially when the bloggers in question have been – or appeared to be – combat troops on the ground in south west Asia.

In the main though, milbloggers, like other bloggers, tend to be a fairly introverted community. Many are former servicemen or families back home rather than active duty personnel, and even those still in uniform tend to be rear-echelon types rather than front line.

The milbloggy categories reflect this, with one award for each of the four US armed services (note for non-Americans: the US Marines usually count as separate) and a further five for "veteran", "civilian", "spouse", "parent" and "supporter". As one might expect, the winning Marine and Army bloggers seem to have had the lion's share of the gritty experiences.

Milblogging is a largely US phenomenon. Though Borda's site lists more than 1,500 blogs in 29 countries, 1,100-plus are American and nearly all the non-USA entries are run by American servicemen serving overseas. The UK section contains actual British military-related bloggers, but only nine of them, and again there seems to be little in the way of front-line coverage.

Borda himself is an Iraq veteran, having already done one tour there with the National Guard (UK readers: think Territorials) and is apparently headed back there soon. In civilian life he was formerly a software analyst, but now devotes himself at least part-time to cataloguing the "military blogosphere".

All in all, those seeking direct reportage from the front lines might do well to follow the mainstream media to forum sites such as arrse.co.uk.

These too are frequented principally by retirees, wives and desk-jockeys, but on those rare occasions when a combat type has the time, energy and access to get on the internet he'll usually head for a forum rather than setting up a blog.

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