News: MNBG-E public affairs soldiers educate multinational counterparts in photography
Story by Capt. Kevin Sandell
PRISTINA, Kosovo – U.S. soldiers with the 11th Public Affairs Detachment used their knowledge of the Army’s newly-issued camera equipment to conduct a “knowledge exchange” session with photographers from the Kosovo Security Force in Kosovo’s capital city, Feb. 21.
The small element from Fort Hood, Texas, who now comprise part of the Kosovo Force 18 rotation, traveled to the Ministry for the Kosovo Security Force to instruct four photographers and members of the KSF on basic skills with the Canon camera system.
Using the photographers’ cameras as visual aids, Sgt. Cody Barber, a print journalist with the 11th PAD, went through many of the camera’s basic functions and shooting modes – a skill set he himself had just learned days prior, after taking pictures with a Nikon camera system for over four years.
“I have never had the opportunity to teach foreign soldiers in my military career, but being able to share my knowledge and techniques on how I shoot photos with the KSF was a unique and rewarding experience,” Barber said. “It’s something some public affairs specialists in my career field will never get to experience, and it’s something I can take back with me from this deployment.”
Experience levels among the four Kosovo Security Force members varied, and two of them were already working towards master’s degrees in journalism. One member was even trained in broadcasting, and had rarely used a still camera for his daily work. The KSF members all work for the ministry’s Public Relations Department writing news and press releases and taking photos of key events.
One of the students said he could already see the difference in his photo-taking abilities after the four-hour class.
“I can see the difference in the work I’ve been doing and have been taught, and I know today’s training will help us out a lot,” Sgt. Kosum Kosumi, a public affairs specialist in the Land Forces Command, said. “In the future, if there’s a training exercise, a visit or a meeting, it will be good to know what pictures we should take.”
The KSF members said working in the public affairs field provided many opportunities to meet new people and even be involved with important events throughout the force.
Corporal Bashkim Mustafa, another public affairs specialist in the Land Forces Command, said, “I like my job because I have to deal with different people, and in a way, we are involved in all the training and activities that Kosovo Security Forces does. When we are involved, we hear and see everything.”
For the two female KSF members in the training session, wearing the uniform of the Kosovo Security Force, while also working in public affairs, has its own challenges and limitations because they must live the proper example to other Kosovo citizens at all times.
“You’ve got watch what you do, what you’re wearing, how you’re walking, but it is a great pleasure because you are presenting a great institution,” Pvt. Kosovare Hoxha said. “Especially being a female, there’s not a big number of females in the Kosovo Security Force, and we’ve got to be a little bit more careful.”
For Pvt. Liridone Gashi, a public affairs specialist working at the MKSF, having the opportunity to wear the uniform is a great privilege that she takes seriously, especially wearing the state flag of Kosovo.
“I’m proud of wearing the uniform, but wearing the state symbol that we have on the uniform is a great responsibility,” Gashi said pointing to the blue Kosovo flag on her right shoulder.
The Kosovo Security Force was declared fully operationally capable on July 9, 2013, by the North Atlantic Council and primarily conducts non-military security functions like search and rescue operations, explosive ordnance disposal, fire-fighting and other humanitarian assistance tasks.
The 11th PAD pledged to work with the KSF photographers on a monthly basis in the future to develop in-depth skills in manual photography and editing.
This work, MNBG-E public affairs soldiers educate multinational counterparts in photography, by CPT Kevin Sandell, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.