2013 Military Photographer of the Year awards

Some tell a story with words, others with pictures. The annual Military Photographer of the Year competition for servicemembers is judged at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Md. Tech. Sgt. Russ Scalf of the U.S. Air Force was named the Military Photographer of the Year. Stars and Stripes photographer Tech Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts won second place with his Combat Documentation (Operational) entry and landed a third place nod for a Features photography selection. See those shots and more below as we round up the top shots in several categories. The full list of winners and categories, including Multimedia Story for both Feature and Operational categories, can be found on the Defense Information School website.

Categories: News | Top photographer | Combat Documentation (Operational) | Feature | Hardware |
Pictorial | Illustrative | Portrait | Sports


Scheduled or unscheduled news event.

First place: MC3 Daniel Young, 'In Armed Forces Arms' | Second place: Senior Airman George R. Goslin, 'Finally Home' | Third place: Senior Airman Nicholas Byers, 'Operation Enduring Freedom'

Honorable mentions: SSG Sean K. Harp, 'Full Honors for Former Chairman' | Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder, 'Airmen Aid Tornado Victims'

  • Sgt. 1st Class Faamasino Galoia, assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines, carries a Filippino girl off a MC-130 Combat Talon II after being transported from Ormac to Manila as part of Operation Damayan relief efforts Nov. 21. The Philippine government is closely coordinating ongoing relief efforts including search and rescue, supply drops and personnel airlifts, with military and civilian organizations.

  • Members of the Joint Base Charleston Honor Guard prepare to move the casket containing the body of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5th Class Curtis Reagan, 43, of Summerville, S.C., April 4, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston – Air Base, S.C. Reagan died March 29, 2013, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related illness. Reagan’s remains were flown from Dover, Del., to Charleston.

  • U.S. Air Force pararescuemen, 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron (ERQS), train alongside simulated patients during a Combat Search and Rescue Exercise on board an MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, 81st ERQS, over the Grand Bara Desert, Djibouti, May 12, 2013. The 449th Air Expeditionary Group regularly conducts training in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

  • Family and guests render honors during the funeral for 9th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Air Force Gen. David C. Jones which was held at Arlington National Cemetery, Oct. 25, 2013. Current Chairman U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, current U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III., and other current and former military members joined Jones' family and friends to honor the former Chairman, who served under Presidents Jimmy Carter's and Ronald Reagan's administrations, from 1978 to 1982. Jones passed away on Aug. 10, 2013.

  • U.S. Air Force Capt. Ryan Gers, searches through the rubble of a leveled home, May 23, 2013, looking for anything salvageable after a tornado ripped through parts of Moore, Okla., May 20, which damaged more than 13,000 homes. More than 600 Airmen from the greater Oklahoma area volunteered to assist in the relief efforts.

Photographer of the year: Tech Sgt. Russ Scalf

  • A Penn State University swimmer competes in the back stroke during a tri-meet Jan. 12, 2013, at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. The University of Arkansas has close ties with the military community, including an ROTC program, military appreciation days and two football games each year at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Ark., which was built as a tribute to Arkansans who have served and paid the ultimate price for their country.

  • Cowboys prepare to ride during the National Championship Bull Riders “Some Gave All” Memorial Day Championship May 27, 2013, near Bee Branch, Ark. The event featured a presentation of the colors by an Arkansas Army National Guard color guard, a tribute to fallen service members and free admission to all active-duty military personnel.

  • A competitor launches off a ramp during a mountain bike race at the Fat Tire Bicycle Festival July 14, 2014 in Eureka Springs, Ark. Chief Master Sgt. Bubba Beason, of the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, placed third in the Clydesdale division.

  • U.S. Air Force Capt. Candice Adams Ismirle waits to receive a radiation treatment Oct. 22, 2013, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. After approximately two years in remission, Ismirle recently learned her cancer had returned.

  • A U.S. Army paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division repeats instructions before performing a static line jump from a C-130H Aug. 18, 2013, near Alexandria International Airport, La. There were 681 paratroopers dropped from nine U.S. Air Force aircraft in support of Joint Operational Access Exercise 13-0X.

  • U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Bodiford, a team leader assigned to 1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, 39th Infantry Brigade, climbs Pinnacle Mountain Sept. 5, 2013, near Little Rock, Ark. Bodiford scales the mountain multiple times per week as part of his physical training regimen, designed to prepare him for the Army’s Warrant Officer Candidate School.

  • Staff Sgt. Steven Smith, a 19th Operations Support Squadron joint airdrop inspector, steps to his aircraft Feb. 5, 2013, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Smith and other inspectors, inspect every airdrop at Little Rock Air Force Base to ensure the proper safety procedures are being implemented.

  • Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing prepare a C-130J for a flight, beneath the light of a full moon March 27, 2013 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. As home to the largest C-130 fleet in the world, Little Rock AFB delivers mission-ready Airmen to fuel combat airlift operations.

  • The Little Rock Air Force Base fire department is an award-winning unit that leads the way in Air Force accolades. The department, comprised of 49 Airmen and seven civilians, operates on two 24-hour shifts that respond to nearly 700 emergency calls each year. The department won 66 individual and team awards in 2013, including the Air Force Times Airman of the Year. This close-knit team of Airmen spends nearly as much time together as they do at home, forging deep bonds of kinship and trust.

  • Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing flew to Alexandria International Airport, La., Aug. 18, 2013, as part of Joint Operational Access Exercise 13-0X. The Airmen provided the Army with airlift muscle for an airborne assault training exercise in conjunction with Green Flag Little Rock 13-09. The JOAX was a single-day combined military training event designed to prepare Airmen and soldiers to respond to worldwide crises and contingencies. In the ensuing days, combat airlift missions were flown in support of simultaneous exercises conducted by multinational joint forces.

Combat Documentation (Operational)

Depicts real-world operations to include combat operations, disaster relief, and any contingency event not related to training, exercise or simulation.

First place: Sgt Kowshon Ye, 'All Alone' | Second place: Tech Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts, 'Restless' | Third place: Cpl Alejandro Pena, 'Hold Your Breath'

Honorable mentions: Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe, 'Fire in the hole' | Sgt. Kowshon Ye, 'Opreation Nightmare'

  • U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Skylar Barrowman with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines (2/8), Regimental Combat Team 7, provides security during a clearing operation in Nowzad, Afghanistan, June 6, 2013. The Marines and Sailors of 2/8 conducted a partnered operation with their Afghan National Security Force counterparts.

  • An Afghan soldier who'd just lost both legs to an IED is restrained by Sgt. James Bell, a crew chief, as the patient was restless during the medevac flight, Oct. 22, 2013. During medevac missions even crew chiefs are utilized as space is tight and the more hands available for care the better.

  • U.S. Marines assigned to Georgian Liaison Team-9 and Georgian Army soldiers assigned to the 33rd Light Infantry Battalion make their way to the extraction point during Operation Northern Lion II in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 3, 2013. Northern Lion II was a Georgian-led operation conducted to deter insurgents, establish a presence, and gather human intelligence in the area.

  • An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier assigned to the Mobile Strike Force Kandak fires a RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher during a live-fire exercise supervised by the Marines with the Mobile Strike Force Advisor Team on Camp Shorabak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 20, 2013. The Marines with the Mobile Strike Force Advisor Team instructed and mentored their ANA counterparts on how to properly utilize their weapons systems.

  • Soldiers with Afghan National Security Forces and U.S. Marines with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines (2/8), Regimental Combat Team 7, provide security during an arial insert in Nowzad, Afghanistan, June 6, 2013. The Marines and Sailors of 2/8 conducted a partnered operation with their Afghan National Security Force counterparts.


Storytelling picture not news-related; usually a found situation that has strong human interest or a fresh view of a commonplace occurrence.

First place: Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder, 'First Class Flight Home' | Second place: Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp, 'French Fries Are Easier to Swallow Than Defeat' | Third place: Tech Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts, 'This bed is just right'

Honorable mentions: Senior Airman Damon Kasberg, 'In the aftermath of Moore' | Tech Sgt. Russ Scalf, 'Corral Cram'

  • U.S. Army Capt. Jade Verge, Army Test and Evaluation Command, gets some rest on a return trip from Afghanistan on a U.S. Air Force C-130H Hercules Feb. 9, 2013, over Southwest Asia. The 746th EAS provides tactical airlift, airdrop and aero medical evacuation, creating an air bridge for personnel, equipment and supplies.

  • A cadet from the U.S. Military Academy eats french fries while he and his peers watch The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen score one of four touchdowns against the Black Knights during the 2013 Army Navy Game played on Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 14, 2013. The Midshipmen won their 12th straight match-up over the Black Knights, by the score of 34-7.

  • Spc. Derek Smith, a gunner with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, pulls security from the roof of the Panjwai District headquarters in Southern Afghanistan's Kandahar Province, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.

  • A boy lies in the aftermath of an EF5 tornado May 25, 2013, in Moore, Okla. The tornado touched down 10 miles away from Tinker Air Force Base, killing 24 people, including 10 children. Between 12,000 to 13,000 homes were destroyed, affecting more than 33,000 people.

  • Cowboys prepare to ride during the National Championship Bull Riders “Some Gave All” Memorial Day Championship May 27, 2013, near Bee Branch, Ark. The event featured a presentation of the colors by an Arkansas Army National Guard color guard, a tribute to fallen service members and free admission to all active-duty military personnel.


Photograph of Department of Defense assets such as aircraft, tanks, guns, etc., that are not news-related and emphasizes objects rather than human subjects.

First place: Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid, 'Solo re-join' | Second place: Senior Airman Dennis L. Sloan, 'Untitled' | Third place: Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Lee, 'Bird Bath'

Senior Airman Daniel G. Hughes, 'Heavy Drop' | Sgt. Christopher R. Rye, 'Bird Inbound' | Senior Airman Dennis L. Sloan, 'Untitled'

  • Capt. Jason Curtis, Thunderbird 6, Opposing Solo pilot, re-joins with the Diamond formation to perform the Delta Bottom-Up Pass during a practice sortie over the range near Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 11, 2013.

  • A C-17 Globemaster III is towed into position on the flight line to be chained in place due to approaching tropical storm Andrea June 6, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C. The stormÌs projected intensity was not strong enough to warrant evacuation, but the aircraft were chained as a precaution.

  • A 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron WC-130 Hercules is hosed down at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., after completing a flight over the Gulf of Mexico on June 4. The water pressure removes salt that accumulates on the aircraft when it flies through storms over the ocean.

  • A piece of cargo descends after being dropped by a C-17 Globemaster during a 1,700 parachute Joint Operational Access Exercise Feb. 25, 2013, at Fort Bragg, N.C. More than 20 pieces of equipment were dropped in the exercise.

  • U.S. Marines with the helicopter support team, participating in Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 2-13, prepare to attach a M777A2 Lightweight Howitzer to a CH-53E Super Stallion Helicopter at the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, Calif., April 5, 2013. WTI is intended to train Marines on the combined arms capabilities of both air and ground elements.

  • West Virginia Air National Guard aircrew members with the 167th Airlift Wing out of Martinsburg, W. Va., perform post flight checks inside the cockpit of a C-5 Galaxy, July 22, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C. Airmen from the 167th AW loaded cargo onto the C-5 to be used to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The C-5 is one of the largest aircraft in the world and the largest airlifter in the Air Force inventory.


Photograph that exploits the visual qualities of the subject with primary emphasis on composition and aesthetics.

First place: Senior Airman Dennis L. Sloan, 'Untitled' | Second place: MC2 Anthony D. Curtis, 'Eruption' | Third place: MC3 Mark El-Rayes, 'Anchors Aweigh'

Honorable mentions: Staff Sgt. Austin Knox, 'Lost Soles' | Senior Airman James A. Richardson, 'Salute to the Colors'

  • Tech. Sgt. Andrew Gravett, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, walks along the top of a C-17 Globemaster III while wearing a safety harness as he does a routine maintenance check of the aircraft June 4, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C. The first C-17 to enter the Air ForceÕs inventory arrived at Charleston Air Force Base in June 1993. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area.

  • Mt. Etna erupts behind the town of Motta Sant'Anastasia, Nov. 17, 2013. Many U.S. Service Members and their families stationed aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella choose to live in Motta Sant'Anastasia due to it's proximity to base and local conveniences. NAS Sigonella provides logistical support for Commander, U.S. 5th and 6th Fleets and NATO forces in the Mediterranean area.

  • The amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) anchors out at sea. Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

  • U.S servicemembers hang up their boots at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia to signify the end of their tour, April 30, 2013. Even though they are returning home, a piece of their "sole" will forever belong to Operation Enduring Freedom.

  • A reenactor dressed as a World War II Marine hoists the flag during reveille at the World War II Heritage Days in Peachtree City, Ga., April 2, 2013. WWII Heritage Days is a two day event hosted by the Commemorative Air Force that highlights veterans, aircraft, and life of the 1940's.

Illustrative Photography

Photograph produced to illustrate a pre-conceived theme, concept or idea and does not include text or graphics.

First place: Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Griffin, 'Social Addiction' | Second place: MC1 Jessica L. Bidwell, 'The Shattering Truth' | Third place: MC1 Dan Barker, 'I'm Still Here'

Portrait / Personality

Picture that identifies and captures a subject's character.

First place: Senior Airman Matthew J. Bruch, 'Cope North 2013' | Second place: Cpl. Harold A. Flynn, 'Tarin Kowt security' | Third place: Senior Airman Matthew J. Bruch, 'THE WORD!!!'

  • A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon with the 18th Aggressor Squadron flies through bad weather while conducting an air-to-air combat mission in support of Cope North 13 near Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12, 2013. Cope North is an annual air combat tactics, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise designed to increase the readiness and interoperability of the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force.

  • First Lt. Ali Choudry, a platoon leader with Charlie Company, 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry regiment, provides security during a leadership engagement in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan province, Dec. 13, 2013. As part of the Theater Assistance Force, Charlie Company soldiers provided security during the transition of Multi-National Base Tarin Kowt from coalition forces to Afghan National Security Forces.

  • Charles Cousins, also known as Longshot the Gospel Poet, practices reciting his poetry in his apartment in Washington D.C., June 20, 2013. Charles was born August 24, 1971 and is currently a full time gospel poet, street preacher, and an author. He began street preaching while homeless in 2009. He currently lives with his uncle while still preaching the gospel on the streets of D.C. each day.


Photograph of sports participation or of a sports-related activity.

First place: Sgt. Tyler L. Main, 'Overcoming Adversity' | Second place: Tech Sgt. Christopher M. Meares, 'Limbitless' | Third place: MC2 Sean Hurt, 'Get Up.'

Honorable mention: Senior Airman Justyn Freeman, '2013 United States Armed Forces Volleyball Championship'

  • Joe Townsend, a British Royal Marine veteran from Eastbourne, England, swims a timed 50-meter freestyle during the first day of practice at the Marine Corps Trials aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 26, 2013. Townsend is competing in cycling, swimming and track and field after placing in many events last year.

  • Josh Wege, Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, attempts to throw out a runner during an exhibition game against Hawaii celebrities, Jan. 11, 2013, at Central Oahu Regional Park, Waipahu, Hawaii. The Hawaii celebrities beat the Warriors 26-16. The WWAST is comprised of competitive, athletic veterans and active duty servicemembers who have lost limbs during post-9/11 combat operations. The team includes individuals with a variety of amputations of the arm, above knee, below knee, bilateral below knee and foot.

  • Shawn Steen stands over Josh Mizelle during a mixed martial arts fight at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va. The fight was part of Spartyka Fight League's "Fight for the Warriors." Spartyka Fight League was started by Navy Chief Boatswain's Mate Jimi Partyka in 2010 and is dedicated to honoring servicemembers and wounded warriors.

  • The Air Force Women's Volleyball Team celebrates after they score a point at the 2013 Armed Forces Volleyball Championship, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 08, 2013. Teams from different branches of the military to include the Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Army gathered to play for bragging rights as the Armed Forces Volleyball Champions.

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