NEWS | Oct. 15, 2014

Combat Camera Airmen ruck for readiness

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Griffin 1st Combat Camera Squadron

More than 20 Airmen from the 1st Combat Camera Squadron completed a Sensitive-Site Exploitation ruck march exercise, Sept. 26, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

The training event was held to help ensure imagery-capturing warfighters are able to meet mission requirements, to include providing imagery of strategic and operational importance in austere conditions.

Combat Camera Airmen grabbed their cameras and packed their ruck sacks with weights varying from 30 to 60 pounds, representative of the loads they would carry during actual missions. The Airmen were then divided into three teams and headed out on a five-and-a-half-mile trek. Half way through the march, each team received an intelligence briefing detailing a simulated sensitive-site and their mission to document it. Following the exercise, Airmen brought their imagery back to be evaluated by the squadron's senior leaders.

"When we started marching, my entire body felt it, but in the end I was really proud of the training I accomplished," said Senior Airman Alexandra Minor, 1st CTCS combat photojournalist. "I feel like it helped prepare me physically for combat."

During the SSE, Airmen had to visually capture simulated scenarios involving weapon caches, aircraft, and casualties in preparation for real-world missions. With limited time on site, teams were divided up and tasked to document different areas of the site from man-made markers to disturbed vegetation.

"It's important that we train together, facing some of the conditions that could occur in combat," said Capt. Jonathan Simmons, 1st CTCS flight commander. "I believe Airmen who rucked with me that day will be better prepared for similar situations down range."