Triple duty on Humvees

Three mediums, one journalist.

I was probably carrying about $5,000 in equipment when I ventured out to Pensacola Naval Air Station earlier this week. Everything from a steno pad to a high-definition camcorder. I told the group of a dozen or so Marines that were waiting around for me, “I’ll try not to screw this up.”

My video from the day. This is the first video I’ve ever hosted online in high definition. If you click the Vimeo link in the lower right of the video, you can watch it in full on high-def glory at the

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The budget line for this story:


Training commanders at PNS call Pensacola “Club Hedonism,” and young Marines
with too much free time hear its call and get into trouble. But due to crowded
classes and complex scheduling, many trainees at PNS are forced to wait weeks
(or months) before starting school. In the past, commanders filled this “free
time” with time-wasting activities like cleaning and chow hall duty. But today
this time is dedicated to teaching marines skills that they will take straight
to the streets of Iraq. Armed with a caravan of 23 armored Humvees, trainees
use the streets of Pensacola to master driving and maneuvering skills that
they traditionally would have had to learn after leaving Pensacola. Training
commanders love it because it gives trainees a good outlet for their energy.
Taxpayers love it because training is now faster, cheaper and more efficient.
TRAVIS Length: 15-20 inches.

I didn’t mention it in the budget, but from chatting with the young Marines, it’s obvious that they love it too.

After I took this photo, the guy on the hood said something like: “Whaddaya going to call me in the caption? Mr. October?” Ha!

Staff Sgt. Seals is in charge of the training program. He was an alright guy. He’s a native of the area and he lives up in Milton now. I had to get suited up in a camo flack jacket and a helmet just like these other guys. I wasn’t the only one that had some trouble getting the chin strap to work right. Although, as always, I looked much less cool after putting on the gear.

Staff Sgt. Seals has this aura of badass about him. Sometimes post-it notes say it best.

Somehow, I managed to pull it off, albeit about three days late. On the day I was going to write this story, there was a shooting that I had to cover. I ended up doing a lot of the work on the visuals for this at home over the weekend.

There was one photo from the group that stood out to me, although I don’t think it will ever get used in the paper. I’m not sure what it is about this picture, but it just sucks me in:

I don’t know. It just seems…gritty…

See all the photos after the break!


One Response to Triple duty on Humvees

  1. sarah says:

    love the mr. october pic 🙂 they wouldn’t let you drive one of those things? absurd.

    looks like i get to go to north carolina after all. flying to ft. bragg for an assignment in a couple of weeks. neat, huh? except i know absolutely nothing about absolutely everything.

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