Good Morning Lowcountry
Monday, September 10, 2007

Combat shooters

Combat photographers are a brave bunch.

One of them, Air Force Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall, based in Charleston, is a 27-year-old aerial combat photojournalist who has photographed missions in Yemen, Korea, Chile, Africa, Cyprus and Iraq.

She's been an Air Force photographer for 10 years. She carries up to 70 pounds of body armor, weaponry and camera equipment. She shoots her photos from C-17s, Black Hawk helicopters and the ground.

Recipient of an Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor and a Bronze Star, she's been in ambushes, raids and firefights, where she has dropped the camera and provided cover fire. She has been near two IED explosions, wounded this year by one in Iraq.

Her second tour there ended in May.

She won the Department of Defense's Military Photographer of the Year competition in 2003.

You might have seen her pictures in Time magazine or on CNN. If not, find them at

"The unique thing for us," she said by phone, "is that we are part of the planning, we carry a weapon, we're part of the unit we're with whether it's Air Force, Marines or Army, and we document it. The camera team is an important asset for soldiers, sailors and Marines."

Whether things go well or badly, she said, military units go to the images to see how a mission proceeded.

Senior defense officials also use the images, she said.

She's documented the Iraqi army in Diyala province, as well as humanitarian aid deliveries and school openings in Iraq. She also shot the evacuation of Americans from Lebanon to Cyprus last summer.

Tonight at 7 at Alterman Studios at 654-D King St., Pearsall and veteran Air Force combat photojournalists Tech Sgt. Jeremy Lock and Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway (who also is Pearsall's husband) will tell their stories and show their pictures.

It's part of Alterman Studios' Second Monday Lecture Series, and it's free.


Sandwiched between "Mummies of the Clouds" and "Kings of the Stone Age" in this week's programming, The History Channel will air "Digging for the Truth. The Hunley: New Revelations" tonight at 9; it will be repeated other nights this week.

Watch for a new local expert, Roper St. Francis pulmonologist William T. Dawson, and staffers from Roper's noninvasive cardiology department. Dawson examines the cause of death — drowning vs. asphyxia — of the sailors aboard the Civil War submarine.

Dawson serves as an on-camera expert while a cast member performs exercise tests in the hospital's Stress Lab. Read about it at or just turn on the television after you get home from the photography lecture.


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