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Air Force activates 3rd Combat Camera Squadron

By Mike Joseph | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs | Oct. 8, 2009

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — The Air Force stood up the third of four combat camera squadrons during an activation ceremony Oct. 1 at the Gateway Club.

Located at Lackland, the 3rd Combat Camera Squadron falls under the Air Force Public Affairs Agency. Commanded by Maj. Thomas Knowles, the squadron's mission is to deploy combat-ready forces worldwide to document history. A fourth CCS will be activated later in October.

"Combat camera is an essential battlefield information resource that supports operational and tactical mission objectives," said Col. Les Kodlick, director of public affairs for the Secretary of the Air Force. "It is an integral part of operations during wartime, worldwide crisis, contingencies and other events of significant national interest."

Colonel Kodlick also said the squadron influences the future of governments, nations, international relations and public views through still and video imagery, adding that combat camera is committed to bringing the truth to people across the globe.

"Combat camera's specialty in aerial documentation is negating enemy propaganda by capturing what really happened, denying the enemy the ability to mislead the public," said Colonel Kodlick.

Following the colonel to the podium, Major Knowles echoed the same sentiments.

"The camera has become an increasingly important weapon in war," said Major Knowles. "The men and women of the 3rd CCS, armed with cameras, caption sheets and machine guns, will provide that crucial weapon to the joint warfighter wherever and whenever needed.

"I would argue that combat camera capability has never been more important in successful military operations than they are today," he added.

Major Knowles, who said he was humbled, honored and extremely grateful to assume command, has served in a number of locales, domestic and abroad. He has been deployed to Kuwait during Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, and has served in a variety of wing, numbered Air Force and joint staff positions.

He began his military career as a Marine field radio operator in 1988 and deployed overseas, including Desert Shield and Desert Storm, several times with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable.

The major was commissioned into the Air Force in 1996, joining the public affairs career field.

"He is a PA warrior," Colonel Kodlick said. "Your commander is ready. He's hand-picked, a hard charger, and the bottom line is he's ready. He is going to lead this squadron to great heights."