Sunday, February 12, 2012

FRONT LINE: Combat Camera in Afghanistan

Afghan National Army commandos patrol towards their objective during an operation to disrupt a known Taliban supply line in Saydabad district, Wardak province, Afghanistan, Feb. 7. The ANA commandos conduct counterinsurgency operations throughout Afghanistan to provide stability in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sebastian McCormack/RELEASED)

A buddy of mine, MC3 Sebastian McCormack, is serving a tour with Combat Camera.  He's working with Afghan commandos, documenting all the hard work going on over there.  He took a few minutes to write me as much as he can about his experiences there so far.

McCormack's in exceptional physical condition.  I remember getting into his car one day, and he had some kind of weight vest sitting in the back seat.

"Hey man, what's this for?"
"I run with that on."
"Oh. Thanks for making me feel really out of shape today."


Hey Brooks,

My primary mission in Afghanistan is to capture imagery of our partner force in action and tell their story.

The weather has been somewhat of a challenge thus far. The winter has been abnormally cold and snowy. The terrain is very rugged. It's definitely a physical job.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sebastian McCormack practices locking-out his rappelling rope as part of a tactical rappelling course during Fleet Combat Camera Group Pacific’s Summer Quick Shot 2011 field training exercise. Quick Shot is a semi-annual field exercise designed to train combat camera personnel to operate in a combat environment. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/SW) Stefanie Antosh/Released)

As COMCAM, it's important to take all pre-deployment training seriously and gain experience by taking advantage of all job opportunities. You've got to be well rounded and proficient in all areas. Most importantly, it's imperative to know your role within any group you're attached to. Be professional and learn from other people!

-MC3 Sebastian McCormack

Afghan National Army commandos build a fire to keep warm after conducting an operation to disrupt a budding improvised explosive device cell in Chak district, Wardak province, Afghanistan, Dec. 8. The ANA commandos conduct counterinsurgency operations throughout Afghanistan to provide stability in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sebastian McCormack/RELEASED)

Thanks for checking in Mac, I have no doubt my readers will love this.  Take care of yourself out there.


  1. MC3 - Some months ago I commented on this blog saying that I appreciated my family sending pages from it in boot camp. I'm now well over halfway through MC A-school and only recently realized that you replied to my comment saying that you'd like some info about A-school for the blog. If you want to look me up via Facebook or Google+ and send some questions to me that way, I'd be happy to answer. I'd have to get any info I sent you cleared by my MTIs, but that shouldn't be too difficult. I already mentioned the possibility to them.

  2. Tough job; thanks to all who make the world a better place.

  3. Hi.
    My Name is Michael, and I am steaming toward a career as an MC just as swiftly as permissable, but I am concerned that if I take the position of comabt camera, I wont be knowledgable on what I'm getting into.
    So, I have the gopes that (this being the only source of MC info on the net) you could enlighten me.

    How is one selected, or how does one apply for comcam?

    how long of a service does this duty require?(id hoped to apply later on in my enlistment)

    And beyond "quick shot", what kind of training do you receive?

    Are deployments as long as the unit deoloyment your attached to?

    Thank you so much for ANY info.

  4. Hey Michael, the first opportunity to go CC could be in 'A' school. If a billet is open, you can request it. The next step would be to take a swimming test. I don't have details on the test, but that's something you could always talk to someone at the school about.

    You spend your first full tour in CC. You can apply later, but it's probably going to mean an enlistment extension. For all the training you'll receive, the Navy will want you to stick around a few more years, depending on how long is left in your enlistment.

    You'll receive weapons and survival training, aircraft safety, and if it's a dive billet, you'll get dive training.

    I believe deployments are based externally from any ground units. For example, you won't be running around with Soldiers for a year.

  5. Can women be in CC positions and be right there in the action? I have seen videos in youtube that portray women in CC but I'm not sure if they get the same treatment or assignments as men ?

    Some of the videos I have found on youtube:

    You could add this links to your site, this channels are really informative

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  9. Hey thanks for all the info on this stuff.. I have a question if you wouldn't mind answering, cause I can't find this info anywhere. Can females become combat camera's? And if that can, are there some missions they're not allowed to go on? -thanks again!

  10. Yes females can, and no restrictions that im aware of.

  11. If you have any other questions, write me at or I'm not on here much while I'm deployed.

  12. Hi, I'm wondering does everyone that becomes and mc have to become a combat camera at some point? Or is this something you may have a choice in?

  13. While everything comes down to needs of the Navy, I've never heard of anyone going to Combat Camera that didn't ask for it. The percentage of MCs that end up there is pretty small.