MARCH 5, 2015, AZUSA, Calif. (NNS) – Sailors and Marines participated in a two-week field training hosted by Fleet Combat Camera Pacific (FCCP) in the Angeles National Forest near Azusa, Calif. Feb. 13-27.
The training, known as Quick Shot, is focused on improving the student’s ability to operate in a tactical environment.
“Quick Shot began when the Navy’s combat cameramen first deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Cmdr. Doug Houser, commanding officer of FCCP. “Whether it’s special operations forces or [conventional] Army, our folks can go into these environments, not be a liability, and come back with the imagery we’re looking for,” said Houser.
Navy mass communication specialists and Marine Corps combat correspondents learned basic and advanced weapons handling skills and various combat tactics. Participants gathered video and still imagery during the training to simulate the stress of documenting uncontrolled action like they do in real combat environments.
“Even when they’re going through ambush drills or going through the close- quarter battle techniques with the weapons, they also have cameras on them,” said Lt. Scott Sagisi, operations officer of FCCP. “So, after a really long day of being out in the field they have to come back and process imagery.”
Participants worked in teams to provide up to 15 photos and a 90-second video product at the end of each day.
“There is no doubt that this training is critical for combat cameramen to go through,” said Max Joseph, director of Tactical Firearms Training Team (TFTT) – the company contracted to provide Quick Shot training for FCCP.
“The training is imagery focused, but [combat cameramen] have to run with full-time [special operations] units focused on high tempo missions,” said Joseph. “They need to get their weapons training squared away, so they become an asset to these units.”
TFTT’s curriculum for Quick Shot includes basic through advanced weapons handling, close quarter battle, vehicle engagements, patrol movement, tactical combat casualty care, breaching and night operations.
“The most satisfying thing for me is seeing everyone’s improvement from start to finish,” said Joseph. “Some of them arrive here with the most rudimentary skill as far as safe weapons handling and combat marksmanship. Seeing their confidence grow throughout the training and seeing them leave here knowing that they are better prepared helps me sleep well at night.”
Sailors and Marines from FCCP, Expeditionary Combat Camera, Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG) 1, Marine Corps Installation West and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Combat Camera made up the class of eighteen students.
“I think the most valuable part of the training is getting familiar with all these different weapon systems, and then the different multimedia products that we’re producing,” said Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul Coover, assigned to NSWG 1.
“We go from shooting pistol to shooting rifle; shooting from vehicles to patrolling on foot,” said Coover. “We’re taking video and we’re doing still photos. At the end of the day, we’re putting it all together, and I think that’s what makes a good combat cameraman.”
Sailors and Marines assigned to combat camera billets from each military branch support the Department of Defense by providing documentation and intelligence support in all military environments. These field-trained photojournalists have the capability to capture imagery from the air, on the ground, from a ship and underwater.