I am Corporal Mike Hubbard and I’m an Army reservist, Rifles cap badge and member of the Media Operations Group (Volunteers) (MOG(V)). As an Ex-infantier-turned-photographer I’m currently deployed on a winter tour of Afghanistan on Op Herrick 17, as the video operator for the Army Combat Camera Team (CCT), which is a three-man team consisting of a photographer, video operator and team commander. This job is a million miles from my civilian career working for BT Global Services as an Account Manager
‘Relevant, lifesaving stuff’
Being a member of the Army Reserves (TA) my journey to Afghanistan started in a different way to my regular colleagues. If I cast my mind back to April when I mobilized, once the call-up papers dropped through my door I knew I was needed to fill the ENG (electronic news gathering/video) role on the Combat Camera Team and I was due at the RTMC (Reserves Training and Mobilisation Centre) Chillwell in April to mobilise into full-time service for 12 months.
At Chillwell you spend two weeks training and passing various assessments, physical, mental and medical. Once deemed fit and ready to serve, you’re then taken into regular service and then you are sent on to more training, which is the operational training that all troops need to do, whether full-time regulars or reserves. The training is specific to Afghanistan and includes current tactics, cultural and environmental training, which bugs and beasties’s to look out for and how to say “hello!” to the locals. Many things are covered over long days and nights, but it’s all relevant, lifesaving stuff.
Once all the general Afghanistan training was covered and all the soldiering skills were up to scratch, it was time for my job specific training to begin. My next stop was RAF Halton and the Defence Media Operations Centre. I spent a couple of weeks there with the other two members of our team, Corporal Jamie Peters the photographer and Capt Tony Booth our team commander, learning about the Combat Camera Team (CCT) job and what is expected and required of us.
I also had my kit issued. As the ENG (electronic news gathering/video) operator I had a lot of kit- two video cameras (Panasonic P2s), a tripod, laptop, BGAN satellite system, night scopes, various mics – from the big fluffy ones to the small radio mics you can clip onto people, the list goes on! But at least I now have everything I need and a huge PELI case to lug it all around in as well!! I wasn’t looking forward to getting all our kit on and off the flights to Afghanistan!
The next stage of my training in the UK was to work with the army news teams here in the UK, to get as much experience and practice filming and editing footage for the news as possible. While I was there I learnt a lot and produced several video pieces, here are a couple:
The Tri-service offshore sailing Regatta, filmed on the Olympic course at Weymouth:
Boris Johnson, Mark Cavendish and the Sun girls visit the troops staying at Tobacco dock during OP Olympics: