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Camera Soldiers: The Phillipine Odyssey
by James R. Stephens

You know all those great photos and movies of World War II and other battle scenes? Did you ever stop to think that someone had to be on the other side of the lens taking those photos and videos?

Camera Soldiers: The Phillipine Odyssey is the story of one such person. The author, James R. Stephens, served in the US Army for 22 years. 9 of those years he was a cameraman-photographer. He spent two and one half years during World War II on two beachheads in the Philippines.

This book is his story but it is embellished a little to make for a better story. The author calls it "fictionalized nonfiction."

As you read the book you know that it is not "made up fiction." Only someone with real world experience could paint the pictures in this story.

This book tells the story of one five-man combat team, soldiers who put their lives on the line by taking their cameras into battle when General MacArthur's forces returned to the Philippines in 1944 in Operation King II.

I never thought how the camera soldiers were easy targets for the enemy with their cameras and other gear. These often forgotten heroes suffered casualty rates as high as 50%.

It's a good story even without the historical context but with the true backdrop of World War II, it's even better.

If you look carefully at the credits of a war photo you will only see something like "Official Photo by the US Army Signal Corps" not the photographer's name. This book gives some much-deserved credit to these camera soldiers.

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