By Mary Doyle, Fort Meade Public AffairsMay 28, 2019
FOR MEADE, Md. -- Two teams of the Israel Defense Forces joined four U.S. teams of combat camera Soldiers for the 2019 Spc. Hilda I. Clayton Best Combat Camera Competition.
The event was held May 6-10 at Fort Meade with many of the training activities taking place in Quantico, Virginia.
Team 6, the two-man team that won this year, has participated in the competition for three consecutive years. Staff Sgt Enoch Fleites is a member of 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera). His teammate, Staff Sgt. Edward French, is a drill instructor at the Army Student Company at the Defense Information School. Both units are located on Fort Meade.
Prior to assuming drill instructor duties, French was an instructor of combat camera skills at DINFOS.
The seventh annual event honors Spc. Hilda I. Ortiz Clayton, a U.S. Army combat photographer who was killed in 2013 when a mortar exploded during an Afghan training exercise. Clayton captured the explosion that killed her and four Afghan soldiers.
The weeklong competition tests technical and tactical skills by putting the teams through a series of mentally and physically challenging events.
While participating in the challenges, the two-person teams are required to document the events with still photos and videography. Team scores are based 40 percent on tactical skills and 60 percent on photography and videography skills.
This is the first time IDF soldiers have participated in the event. One of the IDF teams tied for third place.
While the jobs may be similar in both armies, said IDF 1st Lt. Netanel Ben-Ami, the Israeli Army only began using combat camera teams five years ago.
"The competition is an opportunity to learn and to see how others are doing it," Ben-Ami said. "I learned we spend less time after the mission in our treatment of the files for the technical things like metadata for archiving.
"It makes sense the way they do things, and their methods will be very helpful for us."
French said he was competing against Soldiers he had taught in the past.
"These guys knew my tricks," he said. "But that's OK. If you're not competing against the best, you're not expanding your knowledge."
1st Place -- Team 6:
• Staff Sgt. Enoch Fleites (55th Signal Company)
• Staff Sgt. Edward French (drill sergeant, Student Company)
2nd Place -- Team 3:
• Spc. Isaih Vega (55th Signal Company)
• Spc. Sidney Perry (55th Signal Company)
3rd Place -- Team 4 and Team 5 (Tied):
• Sgt. Nir Bitan and Staff Sgt. Yoav Pinus (Israel Defense Forces)
• Pfc. DeAndre Dawkins and Spc. Joseph Friend (55th Signal Company)
(Editor's note: To read more about the competition's namesake, Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, visit www.armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Military-Review/English-Edition-Archives/May-June-2017/Clayton-cover-3.)