Defense Update: The Best of the Best in Images

Douglas Riley

Each week, the U.S. Air Force publishes a set of photographs called “Air Force Week in Photos.”

These photos are normally superb, depicting our Air Force and other Services’ men and women in action around the world.

This week the set of photos — 56 of them — is “extra superb” as the photos represent the winners from the 2012 Military Photography of the Year contest.

I wish I could put them all up, but that would probably overwhelm my “allotted capacity.”

So, here are the (baker’s) dozen I personally found “extra, extra superb.”

Since I know that everyone’s preferences are different, I encourage the readers to see all of them at the Air Force’s web site here.

Enjoy!

Note: The titles denote the categories of competition and ranking within that category

Combat Training – 1st (Depicts training, exercise or simulation of contingency support.)

swimmers

A group of Navy Search and Rescue swimmers wait in the chilly waters of Coronado Bay, San Diego, Calif., March 15, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chris Hibben)

Combat Operational – Honorable Mention (Depicts real-world operations to include combat operations, disaster relief, and any contingency event not related to training, exercise or simulation.)

Sabari Afghanistan

U.S. Army soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment scan their area May 2, 2012, near Combat Outpost Sabari, Afghanistan. The Soldiers began a multi-day air assault mission near the Pakistani border of eastern Afghanistan’s Khost province. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts)

Feature – 2nd (Storytelling picture not news-related; usually a found situation that has strong human interest or a fresh view of a commonplace occurrence.)

runaway bull

Local men attempt to subdue a runaway bull Aug. 5, 2012 in Daaba, Kenya. Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa incorporates many Veterinarian Civic Action Projects, which strengthen the capabilities of community-based animal health workers, ensure livestock health, enhance agriculture and economic stability, and develop trust and confidence with our partner nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Daniel St. Pierre)

Military Photographer of the Year 2012

Paul Kuntne

Paul Kuntne tries to dive down as he Snuba’s for the first time off the coast of Roatan, Honduras on December 25, 2012. Snuba is an underwater breathing system. The air, however, instead of coming from tanks strapped to the diver’s back, comes through a long hose from tanks on pontoon rafts on the surface. Paul retired from the Coast Guard where he served as part of the Presidential Honor Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock)

News – 2nd (Scheduled or unscheduled news event)

Kevin Preston

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kevin Preston, an Aeromedical Evacuation Technician with the 651st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, cares for an Afghan local national in critical but stable condition for transport to a larger medical facility, Forward Operating Base Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, April 9, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Greg C. Biondo)

News – Honorable Mention

Sara Bauer

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sara Bauer, 388th Component Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel system craftsman, and Staff Sgt. Felipe Mendoza, 75th Force Support Squadron First Term Airman course instructor, place U.S. flags above the graves of U.S. military members at the Veterans Memorial Park, Bluffdale, Utah, Nov. 9, 2012. A group of volunteers from Hill Air Force Base helped the Memorial Park’s staff place flags by more than 4,300 military members graves to commemorate Veteran’s Day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tiffany DeNault)

News – Honorable Mention

Shantilla Robinson

U.S. Army Pfc. Shantilla Robinson, (left front) U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Laura Noel, (right front) U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class India Davis (back left) and U.S. Marine Cassie McDole (back right) escort a flag-draped transfer case from a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Arrival Ceremony, Nov. 30, 2012, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

Pictorial – 1st (Photograph that exploits the visual qualities of the subject with primary emphasis on composition and aesthetics.)

Dela

Dela Taghipaur and Luis Diaz embrace in front of the Lincoln Memorial March 17, 2012, in Washington. The couple is rekindling their relationship. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nathan G. Wilson-Crow)

Pictorial – Honorable Mention and my personal favorite

Drew Parks

1st Lt. Drew Parks communicates with a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet supporting Operation Spartan Shield Sept. 11, 2012, in Southwest Asia. Joint terminal attack controllers establish and maintain command and control communications, control air traffic, naval gun fire and provide precision terminal attack guidance of U.S. and coalition close air support. Parks is a joint terminal attack controller assigned to the 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

Portrait/Personality – 2nd (Picture that identifies and captures a subject’s character.)

Afghan soldier

An Afghan National Army soldier poses with a poppy near the village of Karizonah, Afghanistan. The poppy crop is a major source of funding for extremist groups involved in the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts)

Sports – Honorable Mention (Photograph of sports participation or of a sports-related activity.)

sports

Joel Parkinson carves a Bonzai Pipeline during the 30th Anniversary Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Billabong Pipe Masters event Dec. 9, 2012, at the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Every year from mid-November to mid-December, service members stationed in Hawaii can witness the professional big-wave surfers compete at a series of world famous location along the North Shore. Parkinson, of Australia, is the Association of Surfing Professionals’ number-one ranked surfer and about to claim his first world championship. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Meares)

Picture Story – Honorable Mention (Series of pictures that reveal a storyline or a single theme.)

Air Force Doctors

Air Force doctors and medical technicians receive an intense six weeks of predeployment training at the Centers for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills program at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, the nation’s leading hospital. The C-STARS program helps the Air Force train and maintain the highest caliber of trauma medics for expeditionary duties. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

Lead Photo:

Picture Story – 1st

Lt. Col. Douglas Riley discovered food availability wasn’t the problem in Mongolia. The key was managing the Asian country’s food sources. Riley has been working with Mongolia’s armed and border forces to show veterinarians how to produce healthier herds as a continuation of Pacific Angel 2011. With effective management of the animals and the environment, the 13th Air Force Cooperative Health Engagement Division veterinarian believes Mongolia is the continent’s potential “protein basket.” The food, milk and animal products in Mongolia are used by both the armed forces and border patrol forces. Healthy service animals help to have healthy military forces. The U.S. military has been involved in planning and providing training for the Mongolian military. Riley is an international health specialist and veterinarian assigned to 13th Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo MSgt. Jeremy Lock

All photos and captions: U.S. Air Force

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist