Media Embed Program

Applying for a media embed:

Regional Command Southwest welcomes media to our area of operations for the purpose of covering the ongoing efforts of coalition forces in partnership with the Afghan people. We strive to provide detailed coordination and a positive embed experience for each request we receive! Any media interested in embedding in RC(SW) must be accredited through the International Security Assistance Force. Media should visit http://www.isaf.nato.int/media-visit-information.html for more information and a copy of the Media Registration Form.

Once this form has been filled out, it should be emailed to the RC(SW) Media Support Center (or MSC) at RC-SWMEDIASUPPORT@afg.usmc.mil along with a brief description of your goals for the embed (timeline, location of embed, specific requests for who or what you’d like to cover, etc.). Embeds work best when scheduled for two weeks, which allows for travel time on each end, and generally begin on the 1st or 15th of each month. Upon receiving your initial request, a member of our MSC team (a U.S. Navy Mass Communications Specialist) will contact you and guide you through the rest of the accreditation process. Documentation required for an embed in RC(SW) includes:

-          Media embed request packet

-          Copy of a current press badge

-          Copy of passport

-          Copy of Afghan visa, valid through the course of the embed

-          Letter of accreditation/intent to publish from the news agency sponsoring the embed

-          Recent, passport style photograph

-          Proof of health insurance, valid through the course of the embed

After all documentation has been received, the media embed officer-in-charge will send the request for approval. Embeds must be coordinated through multiple levels of the command, and approval is determined by the ability of the unit to support, so patience and flexibility are appreciated during this process. The current media embed officer-in-charge is 1st Lt. Megan Greathouse, megan.greathouse@afg.usmc.mil.

It is also important to note that last-minute requests or changes to planned embeds are difficult to coordinate. While we do everything we can to accommodate each request, each media embed takes a significant amount of coordination. The more time and detail we have to work with, the better.

Traveling to Afghanistan:

Media must fund their own travel into Afghanistan. There are several ways to get to RC(SW), but most media members travel through Kabul to check in with the ISAF Joint Command media embed office. Upon arriving in Kabul, you will take a short taxi ride from Kabul International Airport to the IJC media office, where you will receive your ISAF media badge and sign the media ground rules and hold harmless agreement. Once check-in is complete, the IJC media support staff will get you on a flight to Camp Bastion in RC(SW).

IJC Media Embed Office points of contact:

-          Group account:  ijc.media.embeds@afghan.swa.army.mil

-          2nd Lt. Maureen Dooley, deputy of media relations:  maureen.t.dooley@afghan.swa.army.mil

-          Chief Petty Officer Dawn C Montgomery, IJC media embed office chief:  dawn.c.montgomery@afghan.swa.army.mil

What to expect when you arrive at Camp Bastion/Camp Leatherneck:

Upon arriving in RC(SW), you will be met at the fixed-wing or Diplomat Freight Services (DFS) terminal by a member of the MSC, who will provide transportation to the media tent located on Camp Leatherneck (located right next to Camp Bastion). In the event a member of the MSC does not meet you, please call the number posted in the terminal. DO NOT take a bus onto Camp Leatherneck. The MSC duty cell phone is 070-689-3354.

The media tent has individual “rooms” that accommodate two people each. There is no internet connectivity or landline phone service in the tent. You are permitted and encouraged to bring your own Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) or other such equipment to connect to the internet during your embed. Showers, toilets and a dining facility are within walking distance from the tent.

A member of the MSC or Public Affairs Office (PAO) will inform you of your next movement times and details. Ground transportation to the fixed- and rotary-wing terminals and flights to subsequent embed locations will be arranged by a member of the MSC. Please note that weather and operational considerations beyond our control sometimes delay travel throughout the area of operations, so patience is key when traveling through RC(SW).

Again, please remember while we try to accommodate all requests, due to the time required for planning it is unlikely requests to change your embed plans will be met once you are here.

What to bring:

-          Body armor:  a bullet-proof vest and helmet are required for all embeds

-          Sleeping system (sleeping bag)

-          Sturdy, comfortable footwear

-          Jacket/rain jacket

-          Comfortable “work” clothes (please see “Weather Information” below)

-          Any medications you will require

-          Job-related equipment (ISAF and RC(SW) are not responsible for furnishing any equipment in the event yours becomes inoperable)

**Pack strategically (i.e. lightly)—YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CARRYING YOUR OWN GEAR**

Weather Information:

Helmand Province is situated on a desert plain in an arid climate with cool/cold winters and hot summers.  The rainy season generally lasts from November to June. Dry, dusty conditions are prevalent in the late spring and summer. During the winter months, temperatures do drop below freezing at night on occasion.