War on Terrorism

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Face of Defense: Marine Journalist Proves Self in Changing Environment

By Army Spc. Matthew Thompson
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 24, 2009 - It's not unusual for servicemembers to find themselves in new jobs during deployments. But what sets each one apart is how they handle those transitions. Those who work with Marine Corps Cpl. Kimberly Crawford say she is an example of how to make the most of changing situations – and impress those around her.

"Not many people can walk into a job and hit the ground running, and do what she has done," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeff St. Sauveur, an American Forces Network producer who works with Crawford here. "She takes everything you throw at her and makes it awesome."

When Crawford arrived in Afghanistan five months ago, she discovered that a Marine Corps combat correspondent is a multitasking career. After reporting to the American Forces Network detachment here, the print journalist from Camp Lejeune, N.C., discovered that the skills she knew were not the only skills she would need.

Crawford said the job description cited a need for a combat correspondent – a print journalist. But about a week before she got here, she said, realized the need was for a broadcaster.

"They almost pulled me off the deployment," Crawford said. "But the Marine Corps' chief of public affairs said that I had been training for this, so I got to deploy here." Just as any other servicemember would be expected to do, the 24-year-old Oswego, N.Y. native quickly learned to adapt to her new surroundings.

Crawford demonstrated her commitment to becoming a solid broadcaster while covering her first solo project, the Super Bowl telecast at Bagram. That one story, according to Air Force Tech. Sgt. Deidre Hines, AFN Afghanistan's station manager, was seen by millions of viewers worldwide and demonstrated how far Crawford had come as a broadcast journalist.

"She's shown drastic improvement from what she was doing when she first started," St. Sauveur said.

When Crawford became a Marine, she wasn't interested in being a broadcaster.

"I avoided broadcasting when I was at the Defense Information School," Crawford said. "I didn't think I would like it, [and] didn't see the artistic view. But [then] I saw that the video camera wasn't much different from a still camera."

Crawford not only had to learn how to use a video camera and broadcast-editing equipment, she also had to lose her accent, something she describes as a cross between southern and upstate New York.

Crawford remains humble despite the praise she has been given by her co-workers.

"They have all helped me out. They were nice and patient and made it fun to learn," she said.

"We count on her, depend on her and we know she will get the job done," Air Force Senior Airman Thomas Kennedy, another producer who works with Crawford, said. "It's been remarkable working with her."

(Army Spc. Matthew Thompson serves with the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

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