You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Profile for combatcameraman:
Profile Info:

Former Tank Driver & Reconnaissance Soldier turned Combat Camera Team photographer.

From: Nottingham



DSC_0291


Tom Johnson Photography | 


Recent front page messages:



(Mon 15th Oct 2012, 1:28, More)

Giraffe!


Click for bigger (287 kb)

(Wed 9th Feb 2011, 17:03, More)

Best answers to questions:

» Impulse buys

Kuwaiti Treasure
Apologies for length...

Well, when I was in Iraq a few years ago I was lucky enough to get something called OSD. Operational Stand Down, where 4 lucky guys a week get to go to Kuwait, stay on the American camp and have fun and explore the city (which is very much like Dubai/Qatar).

As it was the first time I'd been out of the desert in 5 months I went a bit overboard with 5 months worth of untouched wages (with overseas extras) in the American PX. We're talking new DSLR's, Lenses, clothes, knives, presents for people, huge cigars, food....new bags to put it all in. I was having a blast.
What I didn't know, is that this was flagged up back in England with my bank as 'strange behaviour' as my card had gone from not being used for so long to being rinsed. What I also didn't know, was that the American ATM's and chip & pin machines on base, were routed through America first, not Kuwait.

I got a phonecall off my dad a few days later (who was managing my mail etc. for me whilst I was away) saying the bank had detected fraudulent activity on my account and someone had been spending my money in Texas.
I didn't click on at first and neither did he. He had already told the bank I was in Iraq, not America and could prove it.

I got back every penny I spent there as the bank assumed it was fraud and got to keep everything.
(Mon 25th May 2009, 16:36, More)

» Banks

Bit of a pea but probably more relevant than the original.
Well, when I was in Iraq a few years ago I was lucky enough to get something called OSD. Operational Stand Down, where 4 lucky guys a week out of the thousands of troops there get to go to Kuwait, stay on the American camp and have fun and explore the city (which is very much like Dubai/Qatar).

As it was the first time I'd been out of the desert in 5 months I went a bit overboard with 5 months worth of untouched wages (with overseas extras) in the American PX. We're talking new DSLR's, Lenses, clothes, knives, Jet-Skiing in the Gulf, presents for people, huge cigars, food....new bags to put it all in. I was having a blast.
What I didn't know, is that this was flagged up back in England with my bank as 'strange behaviour' as my card had gone from not being used for so long to being rinsed. What I also didn't know, was that the American ATM's and chip & pin machines on base, were routed through America first, not Kuwait.

I got a phonecall off my dad a few days later (who was managing my mail etc. for me whilst I was away) saying the bank had detected fraudulent activity on my account and someone had been spending my money in Texas.
I didn't click on at first and neither did he. He had already told the bank I was in Iraq, not America and could prove it.

I got back every penny I spent there as the bank assumed it was fraud and got I to keep everything.

People were telling me the bank would check the CCTV monitoring the cash machine etc. and I'd get found out. I don't think the US Military give out their surveillance tapes willy-nilly though and I imagine the bank would be looking for them on the wrong continent if they did. That's about the only time the bank have done anything in my favour.
(Thu 16th Jul 2009, 21:01, More)

» Cars

Ok, so not quite a car but...
With my trade within our Majesties Armed Forces initially as a tank driver I've cocked things up a few times. Mostly in Iraq.

I once ran a dead sheep over out of boredom. What I had forgotten was that I had to sleep next to that wagon for the next 2 weeks. My god. Rotting sheep is not a nice smell to wake up to. Especially when it's so humid.

My First Road Move:
So I'm not acclimatized as well as maybe I should have been. It was mid-summer in the desert and I was about to embark on the most awful day of my life.
We awoke before the sun rose after a night of stagging on (2 hours on, 4 off from about 5pm) and begin to de-cam. Nets packed up, weapons stowed, kit put away and provisions loaded. Ate breakfast from my rations and would be getting fresh pack around lunchtime once we'd met up with the rest of the battalion. Sausage and beans. Nice!

Time to set off.
Everyone rolled around in to a convoy formation, engines growling, dust trails everywhere. Off we went.
At first it was quite exciting. It was my first time out of camp and here I am in the middle of Iraq driving my tank about, loaded rifle, underslung grenade launcher. The works.
Now as I mentioned before, it was mid-summer. We're talking serious heat. What didn't help was the fact that the wall to the right of the drivers cab is about 1cm thick and behind that, at head height is in fact a turbo. I'm sure the more mechanically minded ones of you will know that they get extremely hot.
So I've been driving now for about 10 minutes and already I've drank a large bottle of water and my 2nd one was warm enough to make tea. The CVR(t) Scimitar cabs are like little ovens.
"OK, OK...I'll be fine. Only got to push a few hours out and I can rest a little"

A few hours past.
A few more hours past.
We turned around. We turned around some more.
We had a short break.
Well, it wasn't actually a short break. It was more of a 'sat here with the engine ticking over while someone figures out where the hell we're actually going and where we are in relation to this mystical place'.
I managed to lift myself out of the cab (which even on the best of days is not an easy task when wearing Osprey bodyarmour and have radios/pouches all over the place). As I clambered on to the decks, gasping for cooler air I went very lightheaded and jumped/fell off the side of the wagon. I felt so drained. I climbed back up ready to set off again doing a mixture of laughing and crying.
About 6 hours later; all crews water reserves empty after drinking warm/pouring over self and it's dark.
My commander Dave kept falling asleep up top so it was just me and my gunner having a chat on the intercom. Things went quiet. Things then suddenly got very bumpy.
"WAKE UP! WAKE UP!"
I look over to see the convoy about 130m away to my left and us then realise I'm foot to the floor going cross country somewhere else.
Yeah, we'd all fallen asleep and were in a runaway tank.
Quite a scary moment as I slammed on the anchors then slowly crawled back to my place in the convoy.
We got away with it though as it happened a lot that night. 5 Land Rovers drove in to the back of each other that night due to people falling asleep.

This was by far the hardest and most grueling tour I've done. 4 weeks living in the desert off the wagons, 3 days back at Basrah with everyone else (pizza hut, subway, showers, aircon...electricity) then back out again. Long range desert patrols for the first time since the original SAS did them. I think I'd rather it be left to them in future.

EDIT: Oh yeah, we eventually found them and arrived around 3am. Up again at 6.
(Fri 23rd Apr 2010, 13:26, More)

» Tightwads

More necessity than choice...
A few years back I was placed in the Army Glasshouse for going AWOL for a few months. I have never seen such behavior and doubt I will again.

You're weekly budget in there was around 5.16. That would buy you maybe 2 pouches of tobacco, some Rizzla, some matches and maybe a chocolate bar. Smoking was literally the highlight of the day and you can imagine the amount you'd smoke when you're locked up in a room with 7 strangers for 16 hours.
Needless to say, 2 small pouches was not enough to last a week.

I personally drew the line at smoking through monopoly paper when the Rizzla ran out however the other lads took it a bit further.
In there I witnessed people empty and hide the contents of the ashtray so they could extract the remaining shards of tobacco from fag butts to be smoked later on in the week. I saw people go through bins in smoking areas in the rain to salvage more (wet) tobacco and re-roll and smoke them on the spot. The worst one however was...

You know the nicorette inhalators you can get. Like the little plastic cigarettes with a nicotine capsule. Well I saw said capsules smashed open to reveal a hard, nicotine drenched pod which were then rolled up in rizzla and smoked.
I say smoked, however 1 drag was taken each by a few people and they couldn't talk for around 3 hours after. That was rock-bottom.

Another was in Iraq, instead of getting a cake and candles for someones birthday, we melted down some Yorkie bars and Oatmeal blocks from the ration packs, made into a cake shaped block and stuck some lit zippo lighters in there.
...It did the trick.
(Fri 24th Oct 2008, 4:26, More)

» Family Feuds


I have only recently started talking to my family again. We had a huge fall out about 2 years ago when I left the army. I got kicked out after 2 weeks of being back and my step-dad nicked my PS3 which I'd just bought when I returned from Iraq.
The reason I started talking to them again is; as of today, I'm homeless again and have nowhere to go.
We've been talking a bit more over the past month but as soon as I told her what was going off, she stopped replying to emails even though I know she's sat in front of a computer all day. I even get the annoying, viral emails from her still.
I have 6 Aunts and Uncles who don't talk to each other.
So, as far as I'm concerned I have no family. They've been useless throughout my entire upbringing and continue to be to this day.
I'm not saying I had a hard time growing up. I was just very much on my own without guidance and I'm pretty suprised I ended up being a decent person.

My plan tonight is to dig out my old army kit and go and dig in, in some field somewhere.
Could sell my laptop and get a B&B but that's too much of a loss for such a short period and it's my main source of contact/jobs.
Could sell all my camera kit off, but at the moment that's my only source of income and I doubt 'Cash Coverters' have enough in the tills for what it's worth.

Combatcameraman A.K.A Tech_Hobo
(Wed 18th Nov 2009, 13:51, More)
[read all their answers]