FORT BLISS, TEXAS (Mar. 27, 2017) - As athletes arrive to compete at Army Warrior Care and Transition's Army Trials 2017, silently working in the background are 12 Soldiers from the Army's only active-duty Combat Camera unit documenting the day's events.
The Soldiers are assigned to 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera), a special unit stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, with a mission to provide high-quality pictures, videos and graphics to the president, Office of the Secretary of Defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commands and joint task forces. They also cover a variety of missions from tactical deployments and training exercises to humanitarian missions and the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.
"Being a member of the Combat Camera team is more than just taking pictures and broadcasting, you have to be 'high-speed' to keep up with the rangers and special forces," said Pfc. P.J. M. Siquig, combat documentation production specialist.
Soldiers assigned to Combat Camera train to maintain the same physical standards required to deploy with some of the most elite combat military units.
"Being in Combat Camera has its own special requirements," said Spc. Alexis D.K. Liebal, combat documentation production specialist. Pfc. Seara D. Marcsis, visual equipment operator/maintainer also commented, "We're required to run four miles in 36 minutes, complete the air assault obstacle course, and do a 12-mile ruck march in three hours. It's hard, but it's necessary to do what we do."
Staff Sgt. Jason N. Edwards, the Combat Camera non-commissioned officer in charge, is very familiar with Army Trials and other adaptive reconditioning sporting events. He was the Combat Camera team leader for the 2016 Army Trials and Invictus Games.
"Documenting the athletes that are competing in the Warrior Care and Transition Army Trials 2017 is different than many of the missions we cover because we get to document the accomplishments of our battle buddies, whereas for other events we cover training exercises and combat operations," Edwards said. "We really get an opportunity to honor our fellow Soldiers and what they have overcome as they prepare to return to duty or transition to a veteran status."
Edwards directed the 12-man team to complete all of the day's in-processing events from capturing athletes arriving at the airport and the taking of headshots to build the athletes' biographies. This year, Edwards says he has some of the most tactically and technically proficient Soldiers documenting the 2017 Army Trials.
Spc. Dwight Rodriguez-Pinero and Spc. Tomarius D. Roberts, both combat documentation production specialists, together are recognized for their high level of technical expertise and experience with Combat Camera. Both Soldiers have almost four years of active-duty service and always knew they wanted to join the U.S. Army to work as combat documentation production specialists. Roberts is a graduate from the U.S. Army Air Assault School and leads the way with his tactical expertise. Rodriguez is well-known in the company for his ability to edit videos and he will be the final video editor for the Warrior Care and Transition Army Trials 2017 video.
According to Rodriguez, "We are Soldiers first, and we share the same camaraderie as the Soldier and veteran athletes here today. We are inspired and honored to be a part of Army Warrior Care and Transition's 2017 Army Trials."