MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. - When someone enlists in the Marine Corps, whether they do four years or 20, they are often found developing skills and traits they carry with them for the rest of their lives; no matter what they decide to do following their time in service.
Carlos Guerra, photographer on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., and former Marine Corps mortarman of five years, is the epitome of this common characteristic.
Guerra enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2001, the same year he graduated high school and developed a passion for photography.
“I wanted to know how cameras worked, so I took a camera mechanics class my senior year (in high school),” Guerra said.
Guerra further explained he immediately developed a passion for the craft; however, he was set on becoming a Marine. The former infantryman spent more than two years of his enlistment deployed.
“I’ve deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Israel and more,” Guerra explained. “I brought my camera to every deployment.”
During down-time on deployments, when he wasn’t executing missions or training exercises, Guerra was honing his photography skills.
“I eventually became the ‘un-official’ platoon photographer,” Guerra explained. “I took portrait shots of all of my fellow Marines.”
Guerra, who has numerous albums full of photos from various deployments, explained his passion for photography and abilities greatly increased during his time in the Corps.
The Edinburg, TX, native honorably got out of the Marine Corps as a sergeant to attend Brooks Institute of Photography in California. Upon receiving his degree in photography, Guerra worked at two other photo studios before checking into MCLB Barstow.
Guerra, specifically looking for military photography jobs, applied as soon as an opening became available in Barstow.
“Carlos (Guerra) was very qualified for the job,” explained Robert Jackson, officer in charge of the public affairs section on base. “All of his answers to my questions were knowledgeable and his photos were very impressive.”
Jackson further explained as he worked with Guerra, he thoroughly enjoyed his personality and work ethic.
“Carlos is very meticulous with his work,” explained Jackson. “He puts a lot of thought into each shot … his attention to detail is incredible.”
Attention to detail is instilled into Marines at day one, added Jackson, a retired Marine master sergeant. The combination of Marine Corps traits instilled in him and his prior photography training makes him the photographer he is today.
“He is much more than (the average), ‘point and shoot’ photographer,” Jackson further explained.
Guerra said he never thought he would be working with Marines again once he got out.
“Working with Marines is almost like being back in the Marine Corps … but without the stress of deployments,” explained the combat veteran. “Every day here is a good day; I don’t need to shoot a gun … just a camera.”
Guerra hopes to further his photography skills and increase his responsibilities as a photographer within the military community.
“I love being able to take pictures of the Marines. As a former active duty Marine, it’s a dream come true. I get the best of both worlds … I get to be around the Marines all day, but I don’t have to shave,” Guerra concluded as he laughed and stroked his beard.