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Face of Defense: Former Mortarman Now Shoots Pictures

By Marine Corps Pfc. Samuel Ramsey
Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif., Oct. 7, 2013 – Whether they serve for four years or a full career, Marines develop skills and traits they carry with them for the rest of their lives, regardless of what they decide to do following their time in service.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Carlos Guerra, now a civilian photographer on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., poses with his camera during a deployment in Afghanistan during his Marine Corps service. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Carlos Guerra served as a Marine Corps mortarman for five years, and now he works here as a photographer.

During his senior year in high school, Guerra said, he took a camera mechanics class, because he wanted to know how cameras work. This, he added, began his passion for photography. He graduated from high school and joined the Marine Corps in 2001, and spent more than two years of his enlistment deployed.

“I’ve deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Israel and more,” he said. “I brought my camera to every deployment.” When he wasn’t on missions or training exercises, he added, he was honing his photography skills.

“I eventually became the ‘unofficial’ platoon photographer,” Guerra said. “I took portrait shots of all of my fellow Marines.”

Guerra, who has numerous albums full of photos from various deployments, said his passion for photography and his abilities greatly increased during his time in the Corps.

The Edinburg, Texas, native separated from the Marine Corps as a sergeant to attend Brooks Institute of Photography in California. Upon receiving his degree in photography, Guerra worked at two photo studios before being hired as a military photographer here.

“Carlos was very qualified for the job,” said Robert Jackson, officer in charge of public affairs here. “All of his answers to my questions were knowledgeable, and his photos were very impressive.”

As he worked with Guerra, he added, he thoroughly enjoyed his personality and work ethic.

“Carlos is very meticulous with his work,” Jackson said. “He puts a lot of thought into each shot. … His attention to detail is incredible.”

Attention to detail is instilled into Marines at Day One, said Jackson, a retired Marine Corps master sergeant. The combination of Guerra’s Marine Corps traits and his photography training makes him the photographer he is today, he added.

“He is much more than [a] ‘point and shoot’ photographer,” he said.

Guerra said he never thought he would be working with Marines again once he left the Corps.

“Working with Marines is almost like being back in the Marine Corps, … but without the stress of deployments,” the combat veteran said. “Every day here is a good day. I don’t need to shoot a gun, … just a camera.”

Guerra said he hopes to further his skills and increase his responsibilities.

“I love being able to take pictures of the Marines -- as a former active duty Marine, it’s a dream come true,” he said. “I get the best of both worlds … I get to be around the Marines all day, but I don’t have to shave,” he added with a laugh, stroking his beard.


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