Know Your Military

Face of Defense: Behind the Lens

Dec. 6, 2018

Army Spc. Austin Boucher looks at a computer.
Checking Imagery
Army Spc. Austin T. Boucher, a combat documentation specialist, processes imagery during Hurricane Florence relief operations at Fort Bragg, N.C., Sept. 16, 2018.
Photo By: Spc. Andrea Salgado Rivera
VIRIN: 180916-A-XH098-0050

Army Specialist Austin Boucher
Job Title: Combat Documentation Production Specialist (Combat Camera)
Hometown: Watertown, Connecticut
Stationed: Fort George G. Meade, Maryland
Unit: 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera) 

What is it like being combat camera?

For lack of better words, being a combat camera is unique. You, whether a lower enlisted or NCO, are trusted by battlefield commanders to quickly and diligently provide them with useful visual information in any given environment. That includes frontline combat. It’s humbling, to say the least. I can’t imagine another job in the military where your purpose is to document history, combat operations and be a staple for information operations. 

Army Spc. Austin Boucher takes a photo of foreign helicopters.
War Photographer
Army Spc. Austin T. Boucher takes a photo of foreign helicopters landing in Afghanistan, April 30, 2018.
Photo By: Army Spc. Austin T. Boucher.
VIRIN: 180430-A-EX720-0001

What is the biggest thing you will take with you from being combat camera?

One of the many things I will take away from being a combat camera is being able to wear “multiple hats.” We often operate alone and are entrusted to brief commanders, and execute any mission. At any given notice you can be in combat alongside special operations, or working with local law enforcement during a hurricane. I found being a force enabler to the Department of Defense as a whole taught me to trust in myself and my abilities, as well as my training. 

Spc. Austin Boucher and teammates assess a map.
Map Check
Army Spc. Austin T. Boucher and teammates assess a map under red light during a night mission, Aug. 24, 2018.
Photo By: Army Spc. Austin T. Boucher.
VIRIN: 180824-A-EX720-0001

What is your favorite activity outside of military work?

My favorite activity outside of military duty is reading nonfiction, listening to podcasts and watching documentaries. I’m happiest when I learn something new. Books, podcasts and documentaries provide lessons and information I use to improve myself and teach others. 

Why did you join the Military?

I joined the military because I felt college was limiting my ability to create meaningful experiences. To me, education is important, but oftentimes we forget a classroom isn’t the only place we can learn something. I wanted life experience, and I needed challenges. The military is where I receive both.