Corporal Georgina Coupe is the video camerawoman for the British Army’s Combat Camera Team (CCT) based in Afghanistan throughout summer 2012 as part of 12th Mechanized Brigade.
The current CCT includes me Corporal Georgina Coupe, camerawoman, Sergeant Andy Reddy, photographer, and our team leader Captain Will Campbell Ricketts. Over the next six months we will be providing video, photographs and news articles telling the story of British troops in Afghanistan as we continue to mentor the Afghan security forces.
For me, the best thing about my job is the variety of work and people we work with. In the space of a few hours we can go from filming helicopter manoeuvres to a Combat Logistic Patrol transporting vital supplies across the desert. You can’t just arrive in Afghanistan and turn the camera on. Before we deployed, we completed a comprehensive training package, enabling us to be ready to go straight out on the ground, alongside the front-line troops.
Arrival at the front line
We flew into Camp Bastion, which is to be our base for the duration of our tour, somewhere to call home but where we are unlikely to be spending much time. Bastion is really a central location that makes it easy for us to deploy forwards from.
We got into Bastion at a particularly somber moment as our arrival coincided with a service of remembrance for three fallen soldiers. The poignant services held for those serving out here are documented by the CCT. It’s a difficult but crucial job because it provides a tribute for the families back home.
The Welsh Six Nations victory was a much welcome distraction for the soldiers who managed to make it back from operations on the ground. The atmosphere was electric, and a great excuse for the Welsh flags to be flying high.
A big operational success was the handover of the final checkpoint in the Lashkar Gah area from British Forces to the Afghan Uniformed Police. The occasion was attended by Afghan officials accompanied by Afghan media, with whom I found myself jostling with for the best video position. It was a great opportunity for us to try the local Afghan cuisine and also to watch a game of volleyball between British troops and the police (the Afghans won hands down).
Ignoring the age-old advice of never working with children or animals, we spent a day with two military dog handlers. Andy spent quite a bit of time getting up close with a particularly ferocious looking protection dog Vinco, but came away intact with some great shots. We managed to combine this particular job with a visit to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Price, known locally as FOB Nice, with an impressive range of culinary delights: a favorite pastime of my own (the eating side of things not the cooking).
With the recent arrival of 12th Mechanized Brigade we’ve got some exciting times and operations coming up, along with a selection of celebrities scheduled to visit and we’ll be keeping everyone back in the UK updated on their progress as it happens.