An incredible book has just been published on the Vietnam War – Shooting Vietnam: The War by Its Military Photographers, by Dan Brookes and Bob Hillerby. The book contains images taken by combat cameramen of the US Army and US Marines, rather than civilian photographers. As the book describes,
‘[…] behind the scenes, and unheralded for their camera work, were hundreds of military photographers, just doing what was expected of them as part of their day-to-day job description. Unlike their famous civilian counterparts, many had to endure a year-long assignment that constantly placed them in harm’s way. Sometimes it meant dropping the camera and picking up an M-16 or grenade launcher, or manning an M-60 machine gun, or helping to carry the wounded to a medevac dust-off chopper.’
‘When I got to Vietnam, I was 22 years old. I’d never seen a dead body before. Within a couple of weeks, this jeep came by loaded up with dead VC. The driver had turned around because one of the bodies had fallen out near where I was standing. That was my introduction to death and destruction.’
‘A Huey flown by Major Bruce Crandall delivers infantrymen of the 1st Cav to LZ X-Ray. Crandall and his wingman, Major Ed Freeman, evacuated some seventy wounded soldiers flying for sixteen straight hours after MedEvac units refused to enter the “hot” LZ. He was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor. Ia Drang was also the first major battle between US forces and the North Vietnamese Army, and was the first real test of the 1st Cavalry’s new mission as an “airmobile” force. This concept used helicopters for the quick insertion of combat troops, close air fire support, medical evacuation and resupply.’
'Sp4 Ransom Cyr, a 221st Signal Company photographer, pulls fellow 221st photographer Sp5 Charles K. Pollard to safety during the May 1968 attack. Cyr was later killed by enemy fire. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously. The 221st had merged with the 69th’s photo operations in mid-1967.’ (Photo by 101st Division Information Office)
‘A soldier of Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, Americal Division, comforts his dying buddy.’ (Photo taken by Specialist 4th Class Bob Hodierne).
‘Seconds after this photograph was taken, all these Vietnamese civilians were dead, killed by American soldiers of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, in an area […] known as […] My Lai […] on March 16, 1968.’
‘Haeberle [Army combat photographer Ronald L. Haeberle] photographed this scene as he left the village. He would later state, “A small child came out…like he was kneeling to find his mother, and some GI just finished him.” Estimates of the total number of dead Vietnamese in My Lai ran from 347 to 567.’