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Here’s How To Set Up Your Flak Like A Combat Correspondent
While I was in the Marines, I served as a combat correspondent, deploying twice to Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. While I had a fair amount of training on how to do my job, it never included instruction on how to set up my kit so I could work comfortably and effectively.
A photo of how the author set up a modular tactical vest, or MTV, with his camera.
Fortunately, trial and error teaches you a lot and very quickly. Like, never bring a flash on a foot patrol, it snaps off in seconds. Or don’t take more than one camera lens per camera body. You don’t want to be swapping lenses on a dusty road or in a muddy field. If you need a wide angle and a zoom, bring two cameras, or just man up and move closer to your subject.
I’ve set up a Marine Corps MTV, short for modular tactical vest, the way I wore my flak while deployed. I used a canteen pouch as a holster for my camera and lens, so it wouldn’t swing around while on the move. The canteen pouch also has small pockets on the side where you can store batteries and extra CF cards. I would secure my camera on the top left MOLLE strap on the front of the flak and not through the shoulder strap. The reason being, I had my rifle sling through the right shoulder strap and if I ran the camera strap through the opposite side, I wouldn’t be able to get my jacket off in a hurry, or more importantly, a corpsman wouldn’t be able to.
Some items have been omitted, like a CamelBak, tactical belt, and the always uncomfortable combat diaper. Though new body armor and gear is likely to change in the next few years, the layout of your kit probably won’t.
Here’s how I set up my flak whenever I went out on patrol.
While everybody has their personal preference, this is what worked best for me. If you’ve set yours up differently or know a better way to do it, drop your suggestions in the comments section.
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.