Saturday, August 04, 2007

Perspective: Navy combat cameramen increasingly in the line of fire

Above: A photo of Navy SEAL cadets doing pushups during training taken by combat photographer Bobby McRill, who was killed during a Navy operation in Iraq in July.

Wielding a camera during a gunfight has never been a winning proposition. But the ongoing wars have brought new dangers to Navy combat cameramen.

Navy SEALs now regularly take cameramen along on raids. Smaller, lighter equipment means military photojournalists get closer to the action. And the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have them spending as much time in combat as at home.

The worst fears became reality in July. Petty Officer 1st Class Robert R. McRill, an 18-year veteran from Yorktown, became the first Navy cameraman killed in action since the Vietnam War when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle during a special operations raid in Baghdad.

"You can't be a combat photographer without going into combat," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Andy McKaskle, a combat cameraman based at Norfolk Naval Station who has served in Iraq, Kosovo and Somalia. "You have to be a little bit of a soldier."

Read the rest at AOL News