Serving in the Army Reserve: Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic

PFC Gagan Dhiman talks about his passion for cars and photography, why he joined the Army Reserve, and how his passions and Army experience have helped him succeed in his civilian life as a wedding photographer.

Read Transcript

I joined the Army Reserve as a 91Bravo, which is a Light Vehicle Mechanic. I loved cars, I wanted to know more about cars, and how to work on the cars. I knew that, you know, Army Reserve has a great opportunity for those civilians who want to go in and become a mechanic. And that’s what happened to me.

Being in a unit, you know, you become a family, especially when you’re deployed and you go, you know, wherever the Army Reserve sends you. You know that when you’re there, you’re not alone. There’s a guy standing next to you, to your right, to your left, and that person becomes your family. You know, even now, the guys that I deployed with, they’re like my brothers and sisters. Putting the uniform on is just like… a sense of pride. You know you earned it. It feels great. I am a lot better mechanic because of the Army Reserve.


When my chair command in the Army Reserve found out that I have a passion for photography and they saw some of my work, they wanted me to succeed and they made that happen. They took me from 91Bravo Light Vehicle Mechanic to a 25Victor, which is a Combat Photographer.

The opportunity to photograph some of the equipment that we have, like Humvees, and Blackhawks, and Apaches, and I can go on and on. There’s so many different opportunities there for me to photograph. The people that you photograph… you work with Special Forces,

training that’s happening or, uh, the combat situation and you’re in the middle of it and just capturing it all. It’s a really, really unique opportunity that I never thought that I would have.

As a Combat Photographer in the Army Reserve Soldier, my responsibility is to make sure that I capture the missions that are happening. As a wedding photographer in the civilian life, doing so many photographs and building that confidence when I do go back to the Army Reserve, as a Combat Photographer, it just multiplies you with more. It’s like a snowball effect. You just get confident and just one feeds off the other. If you want to succeed and if you have a passion for anything at all, the opportunities are endless.


As a wedding photographer in the civilian life, there’s a lot of moving parts in a wedding. This can be a stressful event, and one of the things I’ve learned from Army Reserve is how to be in a hectic situation, in a stressful situation, stay calm and take Control. The places that I have seen, the places that I have photographed, the situations that I have been because of the Army Reserve, that just makes me confident. I know that there is nothing that this day can throw at me.

During the deployment, one of the Soldiers came up to me and said, hey, I’m getting married, I would like for you to take pictures of me. And at this point I didn’t really have the right equipment, I didn’t know anything about wedding photography, but because of the skills that I’ve learned in the Army, you find what you need to do to get the mission done. I think the wedding photography business is very competitive. The edge that I have over the most photographers is that experience that I have gotten from the Army Reserve.