News: MARSOC Marine wins Harley Davidson
Story by Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – When Sgt. Edmund Hatch snapped a photo of an Afghanistan National Army soldier standing guard in the Morghab Valley, in the Herat Province, Afghanistan, during a patrol last Thanksgiving, he was sure he had captured an image that would at least win him an iPod in the Hesco Bastion Ltd. Photo Competition.
Little did he know, his photo would dominate the nearly 1,000 other entries and win the competition’s grand prize, a brand new Harley Davidson FatBoy motorcycle, which he received, July 7, at the New River Harley Davidson.
Hatch, a combat videographer, was on a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, when he took the photo. During the deployment he filled the role of a combat videographer, a combat photographer and also carried out public affairs missions. He embedded with the MARSOC Marines at the team level and documented them during patrols.
Hatch said he stumbled on the photo competition while scanning the Internet during some down time in Herat.
“I was bored one day and just looked up random things that we had around the camp,” Hatch said. “It was a completely random thing.”
One of those things happened to be the Hesco Bastion Ltd. Photo Competition. Hesco is a Leeds, United Kingdom, based company that makes barrier type products that are used extensively in the protection of personnel, vehicles, equipment and facilities in military, peacekeeping, humanitarian and civilian operations.
“I saw some of the winners they had in the past and I kind of figured I would have a really good chance of winning an iPod,” Hatch said.
Hatch borrowed a “point and shoot” camera from a hospital corpsman and attached it to a pouch on the front of his flak jacket in case he saw a photo opportunity to submit into the competition.
Sometime later, Hatch embedded with a team to take footage, and pictures of the ANA guard posts in Morghab Valley.
“It was actually the first day I got to the Morghab Valley, in Bala Morghab,” Hatch said. “It was the first patrol I went on with the team that was out there. It was the first time I got outside the wire in Afghanistan.”
There he saw an ANA soldier perched against a Hesco barrier. He removed the camera from his flack, framed up the shot, and took the photo that would land him in the seat of a brand new motorcycle at the conclusion of his deployment.
“I knew I was going to submit it as soon as I took it,” he said. “But I still went around camp and took some more. I submitted about 10 or 11 photos.”
Hatch said he submitted the photos in December and received notification of his victory two months later. However, the e-mail he received did not include the details of his victory.
“At first I thought I had just won an iPod because all the first email said was that I needed to e-mail them back and contact them,” Hatch said. “I responded and then a few days later they e-mailed me back and said, ‘Congratulations you won a Harley.’”
Hatch, who happens to be a motorcycle enthusiast, said he could not imagine a better prize at the end of his deployment.
“I was really fortunate to win the competition and whatever I do decide to do with my bike, it’s going to be the best choice for me and my family,” he said.