Military Memories


SEAN FLYNN  Duc Phong, Vietnam, 1966 
A young Viet Cong suspect cries after hearing a rifle shot.  His captors, Chinese Nung tribesmen in the service of the U.S.  Special Forces, pretended to shoot his father, a ruse designed  to make the boy reveal information about Communist guerrillas.(UPI)  Sean Flynn arrived at the UPI bureau in Saigon shortly after his friend Dana Stone. He had "popped over" to Vietnam from Singapore where he  was acting in a movie. An adventurer, like his famous father, Errol Flynn, he wanted to see some action. I got him accredited as a UPI  photographer. Once official, he wasted no time disappearing into the "boonies". Sean was unlike most photographers. Instead of doing quick operations in the field, Sean wanted to hang out with the Special Forces and the "LURPS"  (Long Range Patrols) in the thickest jungles and the highest,  most remote mountain ranges. He would disappear for weeks at a time,  and when he returned, it was with only a few rolls of film.  But his photos
were unlike anyone else's.
(Dirck Halstead)
burrows portrait
LARRY BURROWS 
Born: May 29, 1926 in London 
Died: February 10, 1971 in Laos 
Photo by Roger Mattingly, Laotian Border, 1971 This photograph was taken while Burrows was covering his last story, "The Edge of Laos,"three days before he was killed in a helicopter crash. Larry Burrows began working in LIFE magazine's London bureau in 1942, as a "tea boy" whose job itwas to fetch cups of steaming tea. In 1945 he startedto photograph people like  Ernest Hemingway andWinston Churchill.  He didn't like being called a war photographer, but he spent much of his career on battlefields for LIFE magazine covering conflictsin the Congo, the Middle East and Vietnam. He was a three time winner of the Robert Capa Gold Medal  for still photography requiring exceptional courage and enterprise. He was named 1967 Magazine Photographerof the Year by the Pictures of the
Year competition of theNational Press Photographers Association. 
burrows aidcenter
LARRY BURROWS 
South of the DMZ, Vietnam, 1966 
First-aid center, where wounded Marines
were treated before  being helped 
to air-evacuation points. (Life) 
farley cries
LARRY BURROWS 
Da Nang, Vietnam, 1965 
In a supply shack, the tragic and frustrating
mission over, Crew Chief
James Farley weeps.(LIFE) 
farelyshouts
LARRY BURROWS 
Near Da Nang, Vietnam, 1965 
Crew Chief James Farley, with his guns jammedand two wounded comrades aboard, shouts tohis gunner. (LIFE)  This photo was the 
LIFE Magazine cover on April 16, 1965.

LARRY BURROWS 
South of the DMZ, Vietnam, 1966 
Marine gunner John Wilson, shouldering a 
rocket launcher,   was part of a 
U.S. Marines reconnaissance  force. 
He was killed in action twelve days later. (LIFE)

LARRY BURROWS 
Near Da Nang, Vietnam, 1965 
As Yankee Papa 13 approaches the landing zone, Crew  Chief James Farley opens fire with his M-60 machine gun. (LIFE)  Larry Burrows, who had covered the war since 1963, was an unlikely war photographer. In his forties, he not only was]a master magazine  photographer, but also a gentleman of amazing grace.  This essay, documenting the mission of a Marine helicopter, Yankee Papa 13, is probably the most famou of the war.  ( Dirck Halstead ) 
skyraider
LARRY BURROWS 
 Vietnam, 1962 
Vietnamese Air Force T-28 Skyraiders, 
flown by U.S. Air   Force pilots, 
drop napalm on Viet Cong targets. (LIFE)
ammo dump
ROBERT ELLISON 
Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968 An ammunition dump struck by a shell explodes in front of U.S. Marines. This picture was on the cover of Newsweek on March 18, 1968.  (Black Star) Khe Sanh was the biggest ruse of the war. General William Westmoreland was convinced that the Vietnamese Communists would attempt another Dien Bien Phu against the garrison of six thousand Marines he had placed as bait at this forlorn spot in the far northwest corner of South Vietnam. Whenthey did, he was going to squash them in triumph. But, as explained by General Hoang Phuong, the Vietnamese chief of military history, whom I met in Hanoi after the war,  "General Westmoreland fell into a strategic ambush." The Vietnamese gave every appearance of threatening Khe Sanh, surrounding the place with thousands of troops and shelling the base relentlessly. No serious attempt to seize the Marine base ever occurred. The Vietnamese purpose was to distract Westmoreland's attention from their preparations for the real Dien Bien Phu of the American war, the surprise nationwide offensive at Tet, the lunar New Year holiday, in January 1968, which broke the will of the Johnson administration and of the American public to continue to prosecute the conflict. The ruse succeeded completely. On the first morning of the Tet offensive, Westmoreland announced that the panorama of attacks across
South Vietnam, including an assault on the U.S. embassy in the middle of Saigon, was merely a diversion from an intended main thrust at Khe Sanh and across the demilitarized zone.  Yet the credulity of the commanding general cannot detract from the staunchness of the Marines who held Khe Sanh, at the cost of 205 of their comrades, and the gallantry of the aviators who kept themsupplied with food and ammunition.
(Neil Sheehan) One of the casualties of 
Khe Sanh was photographer Robert Ellison.
shot camera
The bullet pierced camera of the Japanese photographer, Taizo Ichinose, used in Vietnam is now preserved as part of a family shrine in Kyushu, Japan ( Rikio Imajo ).
Although Americans think of the second war in Indochina as their war, the majority of photographers who covered the American and Saigon government side were, ironically, non-American. Ten different nationalities are represented among the dead - American, Australian, Austrian, British, French, German,
Japanese, Singaporean, Swiss, South Vietnamese. In Cambodia, where the foreign photographers received the recognition and the bylines, equally courageous and frequently equally distinguished work was done by the Cambodian photographers who worked for foreign news agencies. After the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975, many of them were murdered by the Khmer Rouge. Nor can one fail to note the sacrifice of the seventy-two photographers, two of them women, who died
on the Vietnamese Communist side. Of their work only a few thousand negatives and prints survive. Most of their effort was lost because of the unimaginably difficult conditions under which they labored. One can see, in the fine action photographs of Luong Nghia Dung or Bui Dinh Tay of the Vietnam News Agency, how talented many of them must have been. They lie with the millions of Vietnamese who died to free their nation from the domination of foreigners in the cause of Ho Chi Minh. Yet all these photojournalists of Indochina prevailed in the end. In a war in which so many died for illusions and foolish causes and mad dreams - 58,000 Americans, a quarter of a million Vietnamese onthe Saigon government side, tens of thousands of Laotians, a million Cambodians in the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge - these men and women of the camera conquered death through their immortal photographs. 
 (Neil Sheehan, REQUIEM)
capa funeral
 ROBERT CAPA 
 Nam Dinh, South of Hanoi, Vietnam 
 May 25th, 1954  Last roll of film, Military cemetery for French and Vietnamese French 
Union soldiers.  Shortly after taking this photograph, Capa, whohad taken the famous photos of D-Day in WorldWar II, stepped on a land mine and was killed.  (Magnum)
Capa last frame
ROBERT CAPA 
Red River Delta,Tonkin, Vietnam 
May 25, 1954  Last roll of film, the road to 
Thai Binh.  This was the last black and white
frame Robert Capa shot.  With his 
next footstep he detonated a land mine.
Dinh shadow
DINH Shadow
South of the DMZ, Vietnam, undated 
The photographer's shadow looms over
an artillery position after  North Vietnamese
forces overran several South Vietnamese  government artillery bases. (VNA)
vc captives
LARRY BURROWS
 Mekong Delta, Vietnam, 1963 
South Vietnamese troops with 
Viet Cong prisoners. (LIFE)
Ellison marine huddle
ROBERT ELLISON 
 Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968 
 U.S. Marines huddle as North Vietnamese shell
 the airfield, aiming for incoming supply aircraft. 
 (Black Star) 
Huet children
HENRI HUET 
Bong Son, Vietnam, 1966
A Vietnamese mother and her children are
framed by the legs of a soldier from the U.S.
First Cavalry Division. (AP)
Robert Eliison
ROBERT ELLISON
Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968
The Marines were under siege for several monthsat Khe Sanh. This portrait was published in NEWSWEEK after Ellison was killed. (BlackStar)
11tth regiment walk ashore
HENRI HUET
Vung Tau, Vietnam, 1966
Soldiers of the U.S. Army Eleventh Armored Cavalry Regiment walk ashore. (AP) 
Robert Jackson Ellison
ROBERT JACKSON ELLISON 
Born: July 6, 1944 in Ames, Iowa
Died: March 6, 1968 near Khe Sanh, Vietnam 
Graduating from the University of Florida, wherehe switched his major from herpetology tophotography, he went on to photograph the marchof Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma, Alabamato Montgomery for EBONY magazine. He thenwent on to cover other civil rights marches. Ellison arrived in Vietnam for the 1968 Tet offensive, and bribed his way onto a helicopter headed forKhe Sanh with a case of beer and a box of cigars. A month after Ellison's C-123 cargo plane was shot down, attempting to take off from Khe Sanh, Dr.King was assassinated. EBONY eulogized both men in an editorial describing Ellison as "the youngwhite photographer who lived free of prejudice, full of understanding and respectful of the rights of men." Published after he died, Ellison's  NEWSWEEK photographs posthumously won him the Overseas Press Club's award for best coverage from abroad. 
Bob Ellison and the Marines on that fatal flight are buried in a mass grave in a military cemetery in Missouri. (Requiem / Dirck Halstead ) 
Kyoichi Sawada
KYOICHI SAWADA 
Born: February 22, 1936 in Aomori
Prefecture, Japan  Died: October 28, 1970 in Laos (Horst Faas / UPI 1967 ) 
Sawada, orphaned as a child, started his career byworking in the camera shop of the military
exchange at Misawa. His aspirations led him to
Tokyo, where he got a job with UPI. In early
1965, he asked for, and was denied, a transfer toVietnam. He used his next vacation to go to war.His photos from that trip convinced UPI to sendhim to Saigon. Within a year, his photo of a Vietnamese woman and her children fleeing across a river had won him a Pulitzer Prize. That was quickly followed by the Grand Prize of the World Press Photo contest, and the Overseas Press Club award. In 1966, he won the First and Second place awards in the World Press Photo contest, and a year later, won another Overseas Press Club Award. After his death in Cambodia, he received the Robert Capa Gold Medal of the Overseas Press Club. Since his death, Sawada has become a legend in Japan.  (Requiem / Dirck Halstead) 

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