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Combat Photographer

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  • #2641
    fluffybunny
    Participant

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june12/warphotog_03-06.html

    A small News Hour profile of a modern war photographer and her commitment to peers and craft.

    #45879
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june12/warphotog_03-06.html

    A small News Hour profile of a modern war photographer and her commitment to peers and craft.

    Thanks for this, it hit me harder than I thought anything military related was capable of. For two reasons:

    The obvious one, I’m a Veteran and an Air Force Vet at that.

    Second, this was supposed to be my life. When I went in the Air Force, I had a job as a combat photographer. It was my raison d’etre in the Air Force. In my 5th week (out of six) of Basic, the admin people came to me and said “They are realigning the tech school, and aren’t taking any more classes. You can either get out because we violated your contract or pick another job”. I was done with the hard part of Basic, had this been week two, I probably would’ve jumped at the chance to get out. So, I listed out six jobs I thought I would like, and that was the end of that.

    I often wonder how my life would be if I went the AF a month or two sooner. Would I still be there, though I would be pretty old for combat missions. Would I have seen real combat? Would I have gotten out and gone into photojournalism, that was my plan. Chances are I would be out of a job today if I had.

    Still, I look at SSgt Pearsall and see a little glimpse of the life I almost had. And I am jealous. When I was young, I would’ve been the kind of idiot that ran toward the shooting, so I am damn sure I would injured…maybe dead…and I am still jealous.

    Still, well done SSgt, well done, particularly your work with and for other Vets.

    #45880
    Yugoboy
    Participant

    Interesting story ennuipoet… we REALLY have to meet sometime…

    I tried signing up for our peace time navy in the late 1980s for EXACTLY the same reasons… if I didn’t have deficient hearing, it woulda’ happened, too. Damn my inadequate congenital hearing… had I been 12 years younger, the standards would have been lower and I would have gotten in…

    True detail about that weekend… I went to the evaluation with another guy from the same recruiter. On the ASVAB he got a 56th percentile, and I scored a 92nd. His hearing was fine and he was accepted to drive trucks… meanwhile I qualified for any job out there and I get sent home… on a freakin’ bus, no less… longest ride of my life.

    #45881
    fluffybunny
    Participant

    Second, this was supposed to be my life. When I went in the Air Force, I had a job as a combat photographer. It was my raison d’etre in the Air Force. In my 5th week (out of six) of Basic, the admin people came to me and said “They are realigning the tech school, and aren’t taking any more classes. You can either get out because we violated your contract or pick another job”. I was done with the hard part of Basic, had this been week two, I probably would’ve jumped at the chance to get out. So, I listed out six jobs I thought I would like, and that was the end of that.

    I’m glad you found it meaningful. It is interesting how the military consistently redefines your direction. A similar (but not photographer billet) thing happened to me, I went in thinking I was going to be a twidget (ie. Orionid) nuke and came out a chemist. I’m ok with what I got, the other way I probably would have wound up stuck in a control room all day and would rather be out and about.

    #45882
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    Interesting story ennuipoet… we REALLY have to meet sometime…
    .

    I know, for all we live in the same state, we might as well be cross country! 😀

    I signed up and waited for nine months to get my job, although part of that was waiting for me to graduate High School, but only three months of it. I knew what I wanted to be (in as much as any high school kid does) and it still ticks me off a little that I waited that long and still didn’t get it.

    The strange thing is I HATED the soldiering side of my job in the AF, I hated being dirty, tired, running around with kevlar helmets and flak jackets. Yet the job I really wanted was doing that plus camera gear. Sure 99% of my life would be taking photos of officers for their personnel files or shooting bake sales for the base paper, but I wanted to do combat photography…Full Metal Jacket came out the year I went in the AF and while I NEVER wanted to be a Marine, I fell in love with the idea of shooting in combat with a camera instead of gun.

    All things considered, it is probably for the best. The best case scenario for me would have been a few years doing that, then leaving for a job with a newspaper…working for ten years and taking a buy out as the newspaper photographers started getting canned in cost cutting measures. The worst case, and I mean this, is me ending up dead on some Afghan mountainside in 2002.

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