News: Combat camera soldiers step up for training
Story by Spc. Bryan Randolph
FORT JACKSON, S.C. – To do their job, combat camera soldiers have to be prepared for action, whether that means reading a map or clearing a building of the enemy.
U.S. Army Maj. William W. Wood, commander of the 982nd Combat Camera Company (Airborne), based in East Point, Ga., said his people have to be able to follow all types of troops into any situation or mission.
“We have to show up at the same training readiness state,” he said. “At the last 82nd Airborne [exercise] at Fort Bragg, they did seizures following airborne assault, secured villages and cordon and search in their [protective] masks.”
Troops with his unit gathered at Fort Jackson, S.C., for several days in November to practice multiple military skills, including dismounted urban assault techniques and land navigation.
U.S. Army Spc. Cory Long, a combat documentation and production specialist from Melbourne, Fla., said it’s important to be skilled with both the camera and rifle when working with other soldiers.
“It’s very prudent for us to have that tactical training,” he said. “That way whenever we do embed, we have those abilities.”
The soldiers spent much of the day walking – and running – through the tactical clearing of potential hostile personnel from the buildings of a mock village at the base.
U.S. Army Sgt. Matt Bridges, a squad leader from Jacksonville, Fla., said that the training particularly helps the younger soldiers.
“What we are doing is training lower enlisted to be leaders, so that they can perform and train these tasks when they move into that leadership position,” he said. “And prepare them to help develop their careers in the Army or Army Reserve.”
Wood, who recently took command of the unit, said he wanted to get a good assessment of his soldiers’ abilities. For example, land navigation is an important skill taught in basic training, but it needs to be continuously refreshed.
“With land navigation, there’s a lot of folks out here that haven’t done [it] with a lensatic compass in the woods for some time," he said. "We identified the requirement for more ‘in the woods’ time through fundamental soldier skills.”