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05-08-2010, 11:40 PM   #256
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nice to see you back great shots

05-09-2010, 12:12 AM   #257
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This thread is quite an experience.
05-09-2010, 08:31 AM   #258
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QuoteOriginally posted by drogomoss Quote
This thread is quite an experience.
I fully agree!

Hillerby, you said that you had a friend who could help you with scanning the negatives. Perhaps it would be a good idea to see if she/he would be able to help with preserving the history. If not, maybe there are museums that would be able to help (a longshot, but still....)

Also there has been some mention about posting the pics as a post-processing challenge. I think this is the way to go! First, get them professionally scanned without any manual corrections (i.e. go full auto), which should not take a very long time to do and then post some of the RAW data here so everyone could try his/hers favourite tricks.
05-10-2010, 12:46 AM   #259
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Hi Bob,

Just wanted to say thanks again for continuing to update this thread. As soon as the notification lands in my inbox, I'm over here to check it out! Never disappointed.

~ Joe

05-10-2010, 01:13 AM   #260
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The Big Picture: Vietnam, 35 years later

I hope it's alright to post this here, if it's not, just let me know.

I consider this to be quite a co-incidence. Just after posting (above) I checked my RSS reader and noticed a new item from The Big Picture at The Boston Globe. The Big Picture has regular photo essays on news topics from around globe and is often (I think) a showcase of the best of photo-journalism kicking around.

Here's the latest essay from The Big Picture: Vietnam, 35 years later:
Vietnam, 35 years later - The Big Picture - Boston.com

~Joe
05-16-2010, 05:09 AM   #261
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Very interesting read!
05-20-2010, 11:35 AM   #262
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Public Speaking Gig

Next month, I've been asked to address the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America to tell a little bit about my experiences while serving as a Combat Photographer in that "Sunny Southeast Asian Paradise".
While outlining and making my notes, it occurred to me that there's a "ton o' crap" that I've never really thought much about till now. Anyway, I thought I might start writing some narratives with a little more detail about what we did, how we did it, etc.
As soon as I get finished with my notes, I'll begin posting these narratives a little at a time and as I locate photos that might be appropriate for each chapter, I'll post those as well.
As always, any questions, comments, or requests will be greatly appreciated. This will no doubt end up being several chapters, or installments, but might be worthwhile.
The other day, I was reviewing this thread to "refresh my memory a little" and noticed that our little chat here has had something over 18,000 views. We started our journey here back in July of last year and it's hard for me to imagine that there has been this much interest in the subject.
Later ya'll
05-20-2010, 12:07 PM   #263
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OH this is gonna be good.... can't wait.

Congrats on the speaking gig and hope you get a lot out of it. I'm sure you will.

05-21-2010, 09:11 AM   #264
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Bob, sounds like a fantastic opportunity for you - AND us!!

Looking forward to more stories and photos!! Thanks again.
05-21-2010, 03:45 PM   #265
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A Detailed look at Combat Photographers

I'd like to first of all, Thank ya'll for the interest in this thread for this long! What will follow {in several installments} is a detailed look at what it was like being a Combat Photographer. If, or when ya'll begin to get bored .... let me know.

Combat Photographers were the "unseen soldiers in Vietnam". During the entire war {approx. 10 years} there were a little over 2.9 million personell who served in theatre. Of that 2.9 million, fewer than 2,000 served as Combat Photographers {military photographers} during the same period.
When I was ready to leave that "Sunny Paradise in Southeast Asia", there were approximately 500,000 personell stationed there. I would guess that at that time and during the peak of US involvement; there were probably no more than 300 or perhaps 400 Combat Photographers. Because we were such a minority, we tended to know one another. We'd either gone to Photo School together at Ft. Monmouth, N.J.; or we were assigned to the same unit, or crossed paths while doing assignments. In other cases, we knew one another by reputation ... we'd seen the photos or had heard about their work. In any case, we were a fairly tight knit group. Additionally, we knew a lot about, and often worked with some of the civilian photographers. I personally worked with and knew people like Tim Paige, Henri Huett (the best of the bunch), Horst Faas, Larry Burrows .... ya'll get the idea, I'm sure.
Over the past 40 years, anytime the fact that I was a Combat Photographer became the topic of discussion, two questions invaribly arose. One was, "What did you photograph?" The other was, "what was it like taking pictures while a battle is taking place?" These are two of the things I'm hoping to cover during our "little conversation" here.
When I arrived in Vietnam in September of 1966, I was assigned to 1st Signal Brigade, 69th Signal Bn. Our headquarters was located on Ton Son Nhut Airbase in Saigon. I spent approximately a month or month and a half there and was transferred to what we referred to as "Detachment A". Det A was located at An Khe where the 1st Air Cavalry Division was headquartered.
That transfer turned out to be a monumental change in my life! By the time I was ready to rotate back to the States' I was reputed to and was given a written commendation for having made more Combat Air Assault missions than any photographer in Vietnam. Having made in excess of 100 Air Assaults, I got my written commendation placed into my file, had a medal pinned on my chest and was asked if I wanted to extend my tour in Vietnam. My smart assed reply was "Hell NO", I goin' back to Texas for a while.
The two questions usually asked have been cause for a lot of reflection about events 40 years ago, but we'll save that for our next visit.
05-27-2010, 07:59 AM   #266
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Something interesting on CNN today...

Military Photography in Iraq
05-27-2010, 09:57 AM   #267
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I just cannot get the image of you all running around in combat with condoms over your lenses out of my head. Good thing I wasn't drinking a hot liquid when I read that! I laughed my arse off!
05-31-2010, 01:23 PM - 2 Likes   #268
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Remembering 58,000 of my Brothers

Today, I'm remembering my brothers who paid the ultimate price while serving in Vietnam! When I say that, I'm talking about not only the 58,000 Americans who died, but the Aussies, Kiwis, Koreans and South Vietnamese who gave their lives there. I consider each and every one a brother.
When we began this thread almost a year ago, I had no idea that anyone would really care about any of it. But during the past several months, I've learned that ya'll not only care, you've made me feel like what we did as Combat Photographers was worthwhile. Believe it or not, it's taken me 40 years to figure that out!
For many years after I returned, I felt as though what we did had little real value. I now realize that what we did made a difference on a number of levels. If nothing else, we were able to make the American public realize the importance of the sacrifices made then and now by our service members. Back then, no one ever said "Thank You For Your Service", and now I hear it on a regular basis. That makes me feel pretty damned good!
I've begun finalizing my notes on the next installment of this narrative and will begin posting that in the next few days. I talk about our assignments and how we actually worked on a day to day basis.
See ya'll here in a day or two.
06-03-2010, 04:02 AM   #269
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Bob, it absolutely makes a huge difference.

If the people still back at home can see a war then they are truly part of it. They can't just take it for granted that someone is getting injured or even dying "over there" and shrug it off as of no consequence to them because it may not be "their" war.

That old saying about a "picture being worth a thousand words" is never more true than when you are talking about pictures taken of wars and the people in them.

That picture of the service man and the woman kissing in Time Square at the end of WW2? That moment of elation was shared by millions and every time someone sees that picture they share it too, if only in some small way.

No war is a good war, but the pictures taken during them, that's US, the human race, and that's our history in the making. We need to document that, show the sacrifice, the brutal moments, show how bad war really is lest we forget what it truly costs us all.
06-04-2010, 10:21 AM   #270
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Being a Combat Photographer

When I arrived in RVN in Sept 1966, I was initially assigned to 1st Signal Bde, 69th Signal Bn, Headquarter Co, Photo Platoon. That unit was located on a compound inside Ton Son Nhut Airbase in Saigon. As previously mentioned, I spent a month and a half or so there and was eventually transferred to Det. A at An Khe with the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
Our photographic operations had a rather unusual chain of command in that our authority stemmed from DASPO (Dept. of the Army Special Photographic Office) and SEAPAC (Southeast Asian Photograhic Center). Both of these commands were authorized specifically by the Pentagon and were HQ'd in Honolulu. As a result, we operated somewhat differently from many other photo units.
The photo teams normally consisted of 2 to 4 Junior enlisted personell. At no time during my tour did I ever go to the field with an officer in charge, and only once did I even have an NCO over me (and he was a newly promoted E-5 by virtue of the fact that he'd been in the Army about 6 months longer than myself.
Because of our unique chain of command, the commanders of the units we were in the field with had no operational or administrative control over us. So basically, you've got 2 to 4 enlisted men running around "doing their thing" with no one to tell them when, how, or why!
So what did we photograph? The overwhelming majority of our assignments were what we called Combat Operations. Most of the time that meant we were in the field with an Infantry unit, although we did also assignments with Armored, Artillery, Engineer, and other units. At any rate, it involved being in the field with them. We were exposed to the same dangers, hardships, frustrations that they had.
Our job was to "document and record" everything that happened while we were there. Combat Operations for us would usually be about 2 weeks in length. By that time, we'd shot all the film we'd carried out and the film had to be returned to the lab for processing and contact printing. At that point the "Shooters" had to fill out caption sheets for every frame we'd shot. Accordingly, we'd be back at the lab for a couple of days, then resupply and go back out again.
My entire tour consisted of going out for a couple of weeks, return for a couple of days, and then right back into the meatgrinder.
We'd shoot everything that occurred while we were with the unit. If they were in a firefight, we shot it! If they walked into an ambush, we shot it! If they set up security for a blocking position, we were there to record it. It's been said that Combat is moments of intense fear punctuated by hours of sheer boredom. That statement pretty much sums it up pretty accurately.
I remember a high school buddy I met when I returned home asked me "What it like being on a Combat Patrol? I thought for a second or two and replied, "It's like going rabbit hunting, except the rabbits are shooting back"
The combat operations took their toll on everyone who ever experienced it. The mental stress of trying to focus, compose, and shoot pictures was sometimes an exercise in futility, but we did it anyway ..... That Was Our Job!
We had other types of assigments and I'll try to touch on those in my next post.
Again, Thanks for the Interest
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