Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

Service Members – Day 3

Stone cold! That’s how I would sum up U.S. Marine Corps Second Lieutenant Timothy Irish.

Another former enlisted troop, Tim got his start in the Marines as a reservist with the Rochester Alpha Company Anti-Terrorism Battalion while he was Attending SUNY Brockport.

After graduating college, Tim was commissioned through Officer Candidate School and will be following on from DINFOS to Camp Lejeune, N.C. for his first active duty assignment.

Tim is by all accounts, a Marine through and through. He’s also the only Marine in our section!

Coming from aircrew, the Marines are the absolute polar opposite of what I know and Tim has been a great steward for his branch. He always takes the time to answer my Marine Corps questions, no matter how stupid they may be.

Reserved in class, Timwill every once in a while throw something out there in a discussion that puts me on the floor laughing. He also does a pretty mean turkey impression.

And I was just kidding about the stone cold part.

Next up, my branch, two times!

Service Members – Day 2

Anchors aweigh! Today’s portrait is of none other than U.S. Navy Lieutenant Greg Raelson.

Greg is a (another) funny guy and just so happens to be my neighbor in our hotel, so he has to be sick of me by now. From the first day of class we’ve been cutting up incessantly, and I’m sure that our instructors are sick of the two of us by now.

I just thought of something unique about our class while writing this post – over half of the officers in our class are prior enlisted. Coincidental, strange, ordinary, I’m not sure? But I think it’s pretty cool.

Unfortunately Greg hasn’t written a book, but I still think he’s an interestingguy.

Beforecommissioning, Greg did a stint on a subs and set sail a number of times in support of the nuclear triad. After a tour at the Pentagon, Greg was accepted to the Navy’s “Seaman to Admiral Program” and completed his degree at The George Washington University. Greg went on to naval flight school to graduate and become an F/A-18 pilot.

His current assignment has him stationed at Naval Air Station North Island, Ca. where he’ll be working with the Naval Public Affairs Support Element West.

On a side note, Greg stuffed a snowball in my face last night after chow and I plan to get him back.

Next up, the Marines!

Service Members – Day 1

If you follow my Twitter or Facebook feeds you may have heard me mention a “special project” a few times over the past few weeks. And here it is, a servicemembera day!

I am having an absolute blast while enrolled here at DINFOS but, “The Man” skipped a big portion of journalism for me…the photography!!!

As a result, I decided to take matters into my own hands and set up a small portrait studio in my hotel room. I have a dozen of my classmates slated for portrait sessions and my goal is to shoot 30 people before I graduate in March.

My first subject is my good bud, U.S. Army Captain Ben Tupper, or “Tucker” as he’s affectionately referred to by our section.

Tupper is a New York National Guardsmen who spent over a year in Afghanistan with an Embedded Training Team. He came back with a ton of interesting stories, a chest full of medals and wouldn’t you know it…he decided to publish a book.

While deployed, he kept a vivid journal of his trials and tribulations and even spoke to National Public Radio a few times (one and two). He took all his material and complied it into a novel which is slated to hit the shelves this June. His book is titled,Greetings From Afghanistan, Send More Ammo, and here’s an except published on Amazon:

“Working in teams of two, ETTs are tasked with training, leading in combat, and mentoring the Afghan Army to victory against the thriving and brutal Taliban insurgency. Writing and recording from a remote outpost, Benjamin Tupper’s boots-on-the-ground dispatches were broadcast on NPR and posted on Doonesbury’s milblog The Sandbox. Now he takes us inside the intricacies of the war, opening up a unique and multifaceted view of Afghan culture and war tactics. From the rush of gunfire to surreal, euphoric moments of cross-cultural understanding, this emotional and thought-provoking narrative is rich with humor, eloquence and contradiction. Writing of danger and desire, confusion and camaraderie, outrage and inspiration, Tupper illuminates the challenges of the war, vividly bringing to life both the mundane and the extraordinary and seeking a way forward. Readers will take away an understanding of the Afghan people, from soldiers to interpreters to villagers, that is critical to shaping our policies in what will soon be America’s longest war. His journey comes full circle; from direct involvement in fi ghting for Afghanistan’s future he is suddenly transported back home, haunted by dreams and enduring the travails of PTSD. Welcome to Afghanistan offers new insight into America’s eight-year mission, and takes readers to a place where our warriors need us to go.”

For this portrait, I chased after the theme of how the “mundane and extraordinary” intersect in a soldier’s life while deployed. I wanted a stark portrait, with a bit of irony thrown in and the t-shirt set off that message perfectly. I also made sure to highlight his Combat Infantry Badge tattoo on his right arm with aseparatestrobe.

But I don’t want to end this post on a completely somber note since Tupper is a fun dude, who will laugh at just about anything!

I’m looking forward to finishing out the next month with him and my 13 other classmates and stand by for tomorrow’s portrait.