As I was once a soldier myself, I always have a keen interest in the soldiers and policemen that I see on my travels. I check out their uniforms, equipment and their guns. I suppose that I compare one against the other and (as I always carry a camera), I end up photographing them. Well, I get all sorts of unusual requests to use my photos for this school or work project or that, I figure that since I have so many soldier photos, I had might as well make a page for them.
If you have any questions about any of the photos and entries on this page, please feel free to drop me an email. Often, I have more photos than are listed on this blog and may have something else that you are looking for.
Catching photos of soldiers and policeman is sometimes a dodgy business; some don’t want their photos taken and some consider it a breach of security and may try to confiscate your camera. Only take photos of soldiers on the sly if you know you can get away with it. If in doubt, ask for permission or otherwise skip the shot. Of course, an SLR camera with a 200mm or 200mm lens goes a long way to getting some pretty spectacular shots :-)
Hope you enjoy this page!
Here is a Mexican policeman/security guard that I saw in November 2001 at the Cancun bus terminal during a tour of the Yucatan. He is armed with an FN-FAL (Belgian Fabrique National), 7.62mm assault rifle. It is a formidable weapon, but I wonder if this guy could get if off of his shoulder in time to use it if trouble should arise…
In 2001 in Mexico City I saw this Mexican Army soldier in front of the Congress building. He’s armed with an H&K G3 (German Heckler and Koch 7.62mm rifle) and dressed in plain green fatigues.
Nearby at the open air market I saw these three Mexican Policmen carrying Colt Sub-machineguns; this smg is basically an M4/M-16 rifle with a 9mm bolt and magazine block that will secure a 9mm stick mag into the .556 magazine well of the rifle. In essence, you’ve turned an assault rifle into a sub-machinegun. We watched these policemen while we munched on cactus tacos and after lunch I snuck up as close as I dared to take their photo.
Further down in Oaxaca, Mexico, I saw this large group of policemen as they received their guard brief before shift two days before Christmas, 2001. These policmen were deployed as part of the Christmas festivities with the primary mission of thwarting pick-pocket thieves. I found these cops to be professional and polite.
At the Mexican/Guatemalan border crossing in Chiapas I saw this high speed Mexican Transportation Police interceptor car. I’d love to see this thing go head to head with the Highway Patrol’s Charger Interceptor cars LOL.
In January 2002, on the drive home from my Central American adventure, I was stopped again and again at police roadblocks and shaken down for bribes. I spotted these two Guatemalan soldiers at a bus stop and offered them a ride. They were in full fatigues with combat boots and Israeli 5.56 mm Galil assault rifles. They hapily accepted my offer and soon I was breezing past checkpoints without worry.
I took them about 250km down the highway to their base and was invited inside. I met the First Sergeant and some of the company and toured the base.
Driving back to Texas, near the Tropic of Cancer I saw this Mexican soldier at a drug-interdiction checkpoint. Like many other Mexican soldiers he was dressed in all green fatigues,combat boots and an H&K G3 rifle, but this one – I’d never seen before – had an M-203 40mm grenade launcher slung on the bottom of the barrel.
A Russian Honor Guard soldier stands guard at the eternal flame at the mass tomb for Russian soldiers at the famous Mamayev Hill Battleground site in Volgograd (Stalingrad). I saw this soldier in Fall 2009; he is armed with an SKS assault rifle chambered in 7.62X39 mm:
Well, these two aren’t quite soldiers yet, but as they are in uniform and someone may find their photo interesting, I decided to add them. I saw these two young men on 16 October 2009. They are from a military academy in the capital of the Kazan Province in Russia. This photo is taken inside the Kazan Kremlin, or Kazan “Castle” that houses the seat of the provincial government.
On the same day, I saw these two “Militsia” (Militia or Civil/Paramilitary Police) in the walking/shopping district of Kazan. I spoke with these two young policemen; they were naturally skeptical of me (being a westerner) and were a bit shy to have their photo taken. I distracted them by asking about their jackets and inquired where I could buy one. They told me I couldn’t buy one for any price.
Most people from the former Communist countries of the eastern bloc have an inherent fear of photos. Perhaps it is from decades of fear under repressive Stalinist regimes, but if you pull out your camera, be prepared for people to cover their faces: especially any one over the age of 40. This is especially true for soldiers. In August 2009 in Siberia, I saw this Russian soldier looking out his truck window. As soon as I snapped this photo he pulled his head back in the truck to hide. I could see one eyeball looking around the window frame as the truck drove on.
The day before Halloween 2009, in a tiny town called Taiga in the middle of Siberia, some time in the middle of the night, our train stopped for a few hours. I went out with my train mates to find something to eat and we came across an entire company of Russian Soldiers. When they heard I was from Los Angeles they were all quite excited to pose in my photo.
My first experience with a Mongolian soldier was at the Russia/Mongolia border crossing in early November 2009; the Mongolian guards were TALL, as tall as I was; even the women guards were tall by American size. They were cordial, professional and dressed well. I was impressed. But, as my visit to Mongolia was dampered by the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic, travel restrictions were being imposed everywhere. When we flew to Ulgi to go Eagle Hunting, we had to “fib” and say that we had not come from the capital at Ulaanbaatar. The border guard took our passports to the office to run our visas and issue us a border permit as we would be hunting only a few kilometers from the Chinese border.
While visiting in Ulaanbaatar, I had a unique opportunity to visit the Mongolian Army’s 84th Special Forces unit. One of the officers that worked in the unit was a friend of a friend and by way of a few emails I was privileged to come and visit their base. When I visited their base in November 2009 they were preparing for a parachute drop & combat exercise.
While touring the Gobi Desert, we came upon a little town, quite literally in the middle of nowhere. My tour guide normally stops at this small town to buy some supplies and to have lunch at the local restaurant. But the local constable had a different idea; he was afraid that we might bring in the dreaded H1N1 Swine Flu Virus. He accosted us and ordered us out of town. We were given 3 minutes to depart. He seemed to have a fairly informal costume: black jacket, black pants, and a black cap. He had a patch on his breast that identified him as a police officer. He was quite irate so the best photo I could get of him was behind when he wasn’t looking. What was so silly about the whole ordeal was that you were much more likely to die in a traffic accident than to die from Swine Flu; but I never saw any policemen handing out seatbelt or J-walking tickets.
While touring China in late 2009, I came across this policewoman in Xi’an. I’d heard that the Chinese government makes every effort to keep everyone employed. And I can’t think of a more scary proposition to the Chinese government than the thought of thousands of unemployed peasants with nothing to do but brew revolution. So, this policewoman is gainfully employed: doing nothing. She stood in the center of an intersection inside of this box waving her arms frantically at traffic. The only problem was, there were already traffic lights at this intersection. No one paid any attention to her at all!
During my visit in Xi’an, there seemed to be a military parade. There were representatives from the Chinese Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. No one seemed to mind me taking photos so I took advantage of the situation and shot away.
While returning from Chinese New Year celebrations, I had a layover in Seoul, South Korea. There, I saw a pair of Airport Police (National Police) carrying the South Korean Army’s trademark Dae-Woo K2 .556 rifles.
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