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NEWS | May 10, 2010

Combat camera squadron honors first training course graduates

The 3rd Combat Camera Squadron honored their inaugural graduating class of combat correspondent (video) training course graduates here April 30 in a ceremony designed to recognize their achievement. The milestone comes six months after the squadron's activation ceremony on Oct. 23.

"Today's ceremony not only marks the first significant training milestone for our squadron, but more importantly, each Airman's preparedness to employ combat camera capabilities in support of global warfighter requirements" said Maj. Thomas Knowles, 3rd Combat Camera Squadron commander. "I'm extremely proud of this inaugural class for achieving what will undoubtedly be a long line of proud firsts for our squadron."

The training curriculum included multimedia and combat camera academic block training, advanced weapons and tactics training, participation in field exercises, rigorous daily physical fitness training and weekly martial arts instruction.

"The principal objective of our training program is to produce a technically competent combat ready force, possessing all initial entry-level education and training requirements necessary to successfully perform our mission in support of the full range of military operations," said Major Knowles. "The secondary objective of our training program is to create self-confident and physically fit graduates who are trained in the skills necessary to become cohesive and effective members of the greater joint warfighter team."

During the ceremony, attendees looked on as the commander presented each Airman with a certificate of training and the official combat camera patch. The graduates were Master Sgt. Robert Shields, Master Sgt. Piper Faulisi, Master Sgt. Michael Hamill, Tech. Sgt. Vilma Velez, Tech. Sgt. Kevin Nichols, Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Zannetti, Staff Sgt. Roberto Velez and Airman 1st Class Anthony Gamez.

Major Knowles also expressed his gratitude and pride in the entire squadron for their tireless efforts in building an operational squadron. The end-goal of full operational capability status for the squadron is Oct. 2011.

"Our success thus far would not have been possible without the extraordinary devotion to duty, hard work and persistence of our entire team," said Major Knowles. "Because, it's not the sophistication of our weapons or the cutting edge technology that enables our Air Force to deliver assured combat power ... it's our people.

"Whether deployed, or here at home, our military, DoD civilians and contractor team have performed brilliantly since our squadron's activation," the major said. "Since that time, we've made tremendous strides in building a battle-ready combat camera capability, to deliver assured combat power to win today's fight...and for that, I thank each and every one of you."

The 3rd Combat Camera Squadron is a tenant unit at Lackland specializing in both documentation and multimedia production missions.

The squadron is one of three active-duty Air Force Combat Camera Units aligned under the Air Force Public Affairs Agency.

Charged with the acquisition of still and motion media imagery to document our nation's military activities, combat camera provides senior leaders with a directed imagery capability in support of operational and planning requirements during world crises, contingencies, exercises and wartime operations. (Courtesy of 3rd Combat Camera Squadron)