HOHENFELS, Germany - As a Viper at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini is tasked with telling the Soldier story by covering operations on the battlefield (or training field in the case of JMRC) to provide commanders a visual record of a unit's operations.

After years of documenting the tasks of other Soldiers, Mancini's own actions have garnered him recognition.

Of more than 2,200 photos submitted for the Department of Defense Military Photographer of the Year Competition, Mancini placed second in the Combat Documentation category with a photo he took of Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He also received an honorable mention in the feature category for a photo of Co. B Soldiers sleeping on an aircraft while waiting to depart for Afghanistan from Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan.

Mancini said in a competition usually dominated by Navy and Air Force photographers, "it was nice to score one for the Army."

"This competition is over all the services and traditionally the Navy and Air Force dominates. For years now (Staff Sgt.) Mancini has taken it upon himself as his personal crusade to work hard to change that," said Anthony Young, Vipers operations officer. "He has single handedly chosen to put the Army photographers on the map and I think that is a credit to him and his dedication to his craft."

In addition to documenting training operations at JMRC, each time a 1-4th Inf. Regt. company deploys from Hohenfels, two to three Vipers will frequently accompany the unit for several months to document their operations in Afghanistan. Mancini took his award-winning photo, a shot of two lieutenants on a ridge near their forward operating base, while deployed with Co. B from January to April 2009.

Mancini said during the deployment he took more than 30,000 photos, sometimes taking 600 to 700 on a single mission. That day however, one was all it took.

"I usually take 20 to 30 photos of a scene to try to get it right," said Mancini, "but my first shot of them was that one. That one is the only one I took of them because right after I took it they got up and moved," said Mancini.

Taking those 30,000 photos is something Mancini said he has been waiting for since he joined the Army in 2000.

"One of the reasons I joined (the Army) was because I thought I could really increase the morale of Soldiers through photography. It took me 10 years to get this opportunity but I think I was able to show the world what these Soldiers are doing and it feels great to accomplish that after 10 years," said Mancini.

Mancini called the deployment "the best three months of my military career," which he said is due in large part to the Soldiers he was with, some of whom he knew prior to the deployment.

"After a while I learned to really trust them with my life. On patrol I could concentrate on taking good photos because I really trusted the guys I was out with. Their professionalism and bravery allowed me to do my job to the best of my ability," Mancini said. "They were such a great group of guys that it was tough to leave them after only three months."

Since he has been back at JMRC, Mancini has resumed his responsibilities documenting training operations with the approximately 25 other photographers and videographers on the Viper team.

To view some of Mancini's photos, including those he took of Co. B in Afghanistan and ones he took in the Hohenfels training area, visit www.defenseimagery.mil and search "Mancini."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16