Convoy Operations Checklist

Checklist 2 min
Be prepared to handle a variety of situations to stay safe and get the imagery you need.

While on a convoy operation, you may encounter many unfamiliar situations, as well as situations you may not be able to plan for. Convoy operations can be dangerous. Always make sure you're an asset, not a burden. Take every safety precaution when conducting business in and around tactical vehicles to stay safe and prevent injury, to yourself and to others. In emergency situations, or when things go wrong, your responsibilities are as a service member first and a photographer/videographer/public affairs person second. Use this checklist to ensure you're properly prepared for a convoy operation.

  • Pay attention to briefings.
    • Attend the convoy briefs, which provide the “meat and potatoes” of the operation.
    • Pay close attention to the planned route.
    • Know what distinguishing features are along the route and what the convoy might encounter along the way.
    • Complete a mission planning worksheet based on the information from the briefing.
  • Prepare for low light environment, if applicable.
  • Introduce yourself to whoever is operating the vehicle, and to others in the vehicle. Make them aware of your presence and your mission requirements.
  • Know the type of vehicle you'll be in. This will help you consider what types of shots and angles will be available to you ahead of time.
  • Prepare for capturing the specific images required by the mission:
    • Determine if the mission requires imagery only when you arrive at the destinations, or if you must document the crew and surrounding area during the ride-along.
    • Work with the team to make sure you are in the right spot inside  or outside of the vehicle to capture the best images to complete the mission.
    • Avoid operational security (OPSEC) violations. Talk to your SMEs to determine if there is any sensitive information like maps or special equipment that is not for public eyes.
    • Remember SAPP (Security, Accuracy, Policy  and Propriety).
  • Take care of your equipment by:
    • Carrying your equipment on your lap if convoy space is limited.
    • Taking advantage of storage space on the ride if it's available, but keep your camera ready just in case anything pops up.
    • Keeping your camera equipment with you at all times. Do NOT leave gear alone in a vehicle.
  • When capturing imagery:
    • Use wide angles when possible from the passenger's seat or the back of the vehicle.
    • Shoot with the camera lens out, but keep the camera body inside when the vehicle is moving.
    • Shoot from a passenger’s perspective to show what it's like to be in a tactical vehicle during an operation.
    • Photograph the subjects inside the vehicle for documentation purposes.
  • When riding in the vehicle, DO:
    • Know your role in the vehicle depending on which seat you are in.
    • Listen to the vehicle commander for direction.
    • Keep your head on a swivel.
    • Keep your weapon at the ready.
  • When riding in the vehicle, DON'T:
    • Be a distraction or liability.
    • Wander off during vehicle stops.
    • Hang out or off of the vehicle.
  • Take the appropriate action if an emergency situation arises:
    • Know your immediate action drills to enemy contact and vehicle stops.
    • Stay in the vehicle alert and ready to respond.
    • Capture images of response, damage assessments, and anything else that may be used for historical documentation or investigation only if you are safe to do so.

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