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Behind the viewfinder

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Isaac Olivera
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill – Wow! I get to write a story about what I do for Scott Air Force Base and the 375th Air Mobility Wing. Though my job can be challenging, Public Affairs provides some pretty rewarding experiences.


Our Wing PA shop completes a multitude of tasks throughout the week that includes photo stories, video stories and alert photography. If there is a big event happening, chances are you will see a public affairs specialist alongside the action documenting the entire thing.


My most action-packed adventure so far would have to be the time I made a photo story for a SERE water survival refresher course here at Scott.


It was a cool day at Carlyle Lake, probably around 50 degrees. I brought a handful of lenses for my camera so that I could zoom in up close from the shore to capture the action. When the SERE instructor looked at me and asked, “Are you ready to get in a dry suit?” I did a backflip of excitement in my head. Next thing I knew, I was in the lake taking photos in the water alongside the SERE specialists and the aircrew getting trained. After taking the pictures, we went to the shore where the aircrew were then shown how to use signals. That was also very fun, because I wasn’t just capturing the moment, I was experiencing it with them.


In addition to photography, I also shoot video. One of my first videos was at the refueling squadron, where I was highlighting their mission. With this, I was able to get video of the squadron refueling on the flight-line, and I saw my very first aircraft, a U.S. Navy E-2 Hawkeye. It was my first time on the flight-line, and it was a blast. I certainly feel lucky because not everyone has the chance to get an up close look at the aircraft that come through Scott.


Though my first time seeing an aircraft on the flight-line was great, it didn’t compare to the first time I got to fly in one.


My new supervisor, Staff Sgt. Rion Ehrman, came from a combat camera shop, which means he had been on plenty of aircraft for deployments and temporary duties. Ehrman took another Airmen from our shop and me on the flight, training us on the procedures involved with flying on an aircraft and also taught us how to capture different types of video in that environment.


While it wasn’t my first time shooting video, it was my first time on a C-17 Globemaster, and with that came a lot of new experiences. The flight was only an hour long, but it was a unique opportunity for me to learn new techniques. Oh, and flying on an Air Force aircraft is definitely a lot cooler than a commercial airliner. That’s for sure.


Another responsibility I share with the other Airmen at the PA shop is alert photography.


Alert photography is the documentation of damaged government assets or emergency events that occur across the installation. For example, if a Government Owned Vehicle gets into an accident, Security Forces calls the alert photographer to take photos of where the accident happened. If you are on call for alert photography, then you need to be ready at a moment’s notice to go take photos at any time of the day.


Overall, I greatly appreciate my experiences here in public affairs, because they always teach me something new. I appreciate my hard-working, resilient team, because even if we are jam packed with events or balancing tons of different projects, we are still producing and telling stories. It just goes to show that we are dedicated to our work and showcasing the mission of Scott Air Force Base and the Airmen who serve across the installation.