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02-26-2010, 04:14 PM   #196
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Signing Out

It appears that the interest in our thread has waned and it's time for me to move on to other things.
I'd like to say that I genuinely appreciate the interest that has been expressed during the past few months. I can honestly say that this has been more important to me than you can imagine. I never dreamed that anyone would have any real interest in this subject, but I was proven wrong. All the questions, comments and encouragement have been appreciated more than you know.
I'll remain on board and pop up from time to time with my own questions.
My THANKS to all who have been so very supportive of our "little adventure" here.

02-26-2010, 04:34 PM   #197
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
No, this one's not about the singing group, rather its 3 shots I took in the village of Bong Son which was just outside our permiter wire. One shot (the girl) was taken at the zoo in Saigon, which was a favorite haunt of mine as there were so many photo ops there.

1. Girl at Saigon Zoo: This one's got a real story behind it! On the day this was shot, two young girls were selling soft drinks at the zoo. My team mate and I bought drink from them. From that point they hung onto us throughout the day. They showed us all the interesting things at the zoo and pretty much acted as our personal guides. We gave them a few piasters for their time and they made excellent models for us. We always liked the kids and being around them.

2. The Village Kids: This shot was taken in the viallage of Bong Son. The guy on the left w/no hat is my Team Mate {Bob Vehr}, the guy on the right is a man named Thien, who was an interpreter for our Recon Troop. He was a Sgt. in the S. Vietnamese Army and permantly attached to our troop. Again, the kids were the center of our attention. You'll note that Bob is carrying his side arm {M 1911 Colt Pistol}. We were required to be armed anytime we went outside the wire. Even though our forward LZ was right there by the village, it was common knowledge that it was not a safe place to be alone {particularly at night}. An interesting note to this photo is the girl standing to the right of the group. This little girl would come to the wire every morning and Bob and I would pitch our helmet across the wire along with some money and she'd come back with both helmets full of fresh native fruits for us. She brought us our breakfast every day that we were there. Upon leaving that area to move our unit to a different A.O., Bob and I went to the local school to pay the tuition for 4 of these kids so they could attend school for the remainder of the year. It wasn't a lot of money to us, but those kids thought we literally "hung the moon". That was a great thing to do for those kids. I'm sure, if they are still around they haven't forgotten you and your buddy's kindness and generosity. Are you in contact with any of the Vietnamese people you worked with back then ?As a result, our interpreter got a lot of good intelligence information from them later on.

3. Street Scene: This final shot is a quick "grab" I took in the village itself. The central part of the village was always a busy place with small shops and merchants willing to sell {or trade} their wares.

As a final note, I've located a couple of shots that I'm hoping some of our Kiwi Pentaxians might want to see. They were taken when I was on an operation with a New Zeland Artillery Battery. I'll try to get them scanned and posted soon.
Bob, I hope you continue to post your pix from Vietnam. I've enjoyed them very much and your commentary. I think you have a natural writing style. I hope you continue posting your pix and reminiscences .
I haven't posted too many responses, but rest assured I have read all and viewed all your pix with great interest.
Thanks, Les
02-26-2010, 05:08 PM   #198
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
Bob, I hope you continue to post your pix from Vietnam. I've enjoyed them very much and your commentary. I think you have a natural writing style. I hope you continue posting your pix and reminiscences .
I haven't posted too many responses, but rest assured I have read all and viewed all your pix with great interest.
Thanks, Les
+1

I'm also a very interested follower of this thread.

Richard.
02-26-2010, 05:11 PM   #199
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+2 if you look at the viewer count, 12,000 members have looked at this thread to date. I suspect many have just enjoyed reading and seeing the photos.

If you have the time an energy, we'd love to see more shots and commentary.

02-26-2010, 05:23 PM   #200
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I agree. While the replies to this thread have been fewer lately, I'm sure there's lots of interest left. Keep it coming if you don't mind yourself.
02-26-2010, 05:32 PM   #201
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
It appears that the interest in our thread has waned and it's time for me to move on to other things.
I'd like to say that I genuinely appreciate the interest that has been expressed during the past few months. I can honestly say that this has been more important to me than you can imagine. I never dreamed that anyone would have any real interest in this subject, but I was proven wrong. All the questions, comments and encouragement have been appreciated more than you know.
I'll remain on board and pop up from time to time with my own questions.
My THANKS to all who have been so very supportive of our "little adventure" here.
Bob, I don't think interest has waned! We appreciate what you have shared so far and if you are willing, we are definitely interested. Your pics reminded me some of my uncle that passed in May 2008. I remember some photos that he had given my dad and grandmother. Unfortunately, my dad's place was robbed and many of our "heirloom" photos were lost. There was a picture from one of his 3 tours of a tanker from a truck my uncle was driving that was riddled with large caliber holes. He drove the truck to base leaking fuel and how he ever made it with the rest of the convoy is amazing. I also have a Spotmatic F that a friend got at the PX on the way back from 'Nam.

I want to thank you for sharing.
02-26-2010, 09:28 PM   #202
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I agree with the above sentiments. I don't think I've ever posted on this thread, but I subscribe to it and even have emails sent to me with updates to it. I hope you still have the energy to continue with this fascinating project. In any event, thanks for sharing your experiences with all of us.
02-27-2010, 08:34 AM   #203
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"Drive On, Sgt. Drive On"

As we used to tell the Sgt. when he asked if we were tired ... "Drive on Sgt". I didn't realize that some 12,000 had viewed this thread. With that in mind, I'll continue to post as I have in the past. Hell, it does me more good than does ya'll anyway!
I've attached a few more pix this time so, "here we go again".

1. Girl & Brother: As ya'll have probably figured out, most (not all, but certainly most) of my shots are of PEOPLE! This first shot is one I grabbed when we were in Bong Son. Even though the town (at the time) was an enemy controlled area, the kids always got my attention. The amazing thing was that amidst all the destruction and abject poverty, the kids always looked after their younger siblings and cared for them.

2. Gathering Wood: This shot was taken during a sweep through a small village along the coast. It was actually quite common to see a military unit on operation (and sometimes engaged w/enemy) and there would be people going about their daily routine as if nothing was out of place. This shot was an old man who made charcoal and was out gathering wood for his charcoal oven. He as as disinterested in us as we were of him .... just doing what he did every day!

3. Girl Sweeping: This shot shows a small girl "sweeping" in front of her house. At the time, I thought "how odd" .... she's sweeping dirt! Small as she was, she had her chores to do just as the older children did.

As ya'll can probably already see, I was intensly interested in the "human side" of the war. People's faces .... that's what I wanted to try and capture. They say, "a picture is worth a thousand words". And when I was able to capture the faces and their expressions, it certainly told a lot about the individual. I think it was General Sherman or Grant who said "war is hell". My twist on that is "Hell, war is PEOPLE!

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02-27-2010, 08:47 AM   #204
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Really interesting captures. It's almost odd looking at these and how people were trying to just continue with their daily routines and our "movie" impressions of this time and place is explosions and endless battles.

I'm curious, during what appears to be fairly calm moments, were you ever surprised by the enemy and suddenly caught up in an engagement against them? If so do you have any photographic records of times like this?
02-27-2010, 10:20 AM   #205
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Bob, I, like many, many, others on this board, enjoy seeing your images and hearing about the Vietnam War from a different perspective.

As Peter said, it's really interesting how so many of the folks there were just trying to get on with their daily life - trying to ignore, as best as they could, the ongoing strife and discord around them.

Thanks - Please keep it up.
02-27-2010, 12:20 PM   #206
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Bob, I'm totally ignorant about film in general. I wonder about the color balance in these pictures. Is it a property of the film of the 60s, due to the aging process of the film or perhaps scanning white balance question?
02-27-2010, 01:17 PM   #207
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Peter,
ALMOST ALL of the engagements in Nam' were a surprise! During what you're seeing in some of the pictures of "calm moments", there were 20-25 other people who were specifically involved with looking for the enemy. I just spent a lot of my time looking for pictures to take. When we did walk into an ambush, or other type of engagement, I would immediately change my focus (odd choice of words) from the mundane pictures to the action at hand. All of this of course, was instinctive and there was no particular thought process involved....you just changed what you were doing and thinking.
The average "Grunt" was NOT walking about looking at things to photograph, his attention was directed at other things.
02-27-2010, 01:24 PM   #208
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emr,
The color balance to which you refer is simply a degredation of the original slides as a result of age! Color film can and DOES shift over time. These images are all over 40 years old and time is taking it's toll. What you are looking at here are quick scans that have had no color correction done to them.
Our photo lab at division rear (base camp) had unfiltered water, and trying to maintain any level of rudimentary "quality control" was next to impossible. For example, when processing color transparencies, there is a point in the development process where the film is taken out of the tanks and exposed to light. That is the point at which it becomes a transparency. Ideally, this is supposed to be done with a controlled light source, of a know wattage, specific distance from the film, etc. I've personally re-exposed transparency film with a damned flashlight because the generators went out and we had no electrical power. All this of course, resulted in less than optimum processing.
Unfortunately, this lack of "archival processing" is what has led to the deterioration of the images. Some are worse than others.
02-27-2010, 02:05 PM   #209
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Thanks, Bob. I assumed it was due to to material aging, but wasn't sure what the stuff was like when it was new.
02-27-2010, 06:31 PM   #210
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I for one have a keen interest in this thread and topic and keep coming back to review some of your stories here. Thanks again Bob and all the best in your future endeavours.
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