by SrA Maeson Elleman

A Japan Air Self Defense Force pararescueman signals a JASDF CH-47 Chinook helicopter to land on an island off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 5, 2011. Roughly 50 individuals from the 18th Wing and JASDF volunteered to participate as simulated victims the first day of Cope Angel 12. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Maeson L. Elleman/Released)

Photographer's Narrative


Some of the coolest opportunities I’ve had since joining the Air Force have been working with special operations. This particular photo was taken from the beach of an island off the coast of Okinawa. The 31st and 33rd Rescue Squadrons were partnered up with their Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts for an exercise called Cope Angel. The exercise centered on water rescues and the pick-up of people stranded on an island. With this photo, I hoped to capture all those aspects by showing the water, a pararescueman, a helicopter and the sand flying up.