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07-28-2009, 12:45 PM   #121
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Scenes from Nam'

The first in this series of shots is a "quick grab" of a group of Bar Girls on Tu Do street in Saigon. They worked the bars and hustled drinks from the lonely GI's.
I've seen guys spend an entire month's pay in one night in these joints. The girls were'nt necessarily prostitutes, although some went that far as well. As a rule these girls never wanted you taking there pictures and would often chase you down the street cursing you in Vietnamese if they knew you'd gotten their picture.
The shot of the boat on the river was a common sight in any area where there was a navigable waterway (most of the southern part of Vietnam fell into this category). Some of these boats had small outboard engines that coughed and sputtered and spewed smoke from their little 2/stroke engines. Others were simply "human powered".
The other shot was taken in a fishing village along the coast of the South China Sea. The original shot was a beautifully colored shot of this scene. The ravages of time and my "learning disability" with photoshop certainly shows in these pictures of the boats. In both cases, I can tell that I did not have my polarizing filters with me at the time they were taken.
More to come later

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07-28-2009, 01:23 PM   #122
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Though they're faded and off-color, I think it adds to the personality of the shots. Of course, it will be nice to see them restored as well.
08-07-2009, 12:25 AM   #123
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I'm normally more of a lurker than a poster, but I have to add that this is by far the most interesting, fascinating and captivating thread I've read on this Forum. Thank you so much for sharing you memories and stories. Please keep the photos and words flowing.

~ Joe
08-07-2009, 08:56 AM   #124
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I just spent the past half hour reading this entire thread, and all I can say is WOW. Bob, thanks so much for sharing both your photos and your experiences. I would definitely be at the front of the line for a book if you decide to publish one.

My father was drafted into the Army as a young man during Vietnam and, luck of the draw, was diagnosed with tonsilitis the week he was shipping out to Asia (he was a cook). As things worked out, he never had to go.

Thanks for your service then, and your reflections now!

Todd

08-08-2009, 02:22 AM   #125
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Bob, thank you for starting this thread. You're doing a great service for us and I'm enjoying your stories and images greatly.

I am from Finland and my grandfather fought in WW2 against both the Soviet Union (at first) and Germany (after we made peace with SU). He was a forward artillery observer and also took part in scouting/recon. Those are rather high risk activities, or at least that is my impression, so I'm sure he had to be somewhat lucky to get out alive. Anyways, my grandfather was very reluctant to talk about the events with the younger generations and in general with anybody who hadn't been there. Later I heard that he had thought that nobody was interested in the 'old stuff'. And I was stupid enough not to express interest before it was too late. In a strange way, I feel I'm getting a kind of a second chance here. Thank you.
08-08-2009, 01:31 PM   #126
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Hillerby,

Thank you for your service and thank you for sharing your stories and photos. I especially appreciate your focus on the human aspects - you do a great job of showing ordinary people enduring extraordinary circumstance.

Thanks again. john.
08-08-2009, 02:20 PM   #127
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Combat Operations

I thought this thread was dying a slow and painful death, but somehow, ya'll keep responding! I got a personal e-mail from by nephew last week wanting to know what happened. I know I said earlier that I'd put more pix up last weekend, but didn't get to it!
I just moved from film to digital and acquired a Pentax K10 last week and I've been "playing".
Anyway, these pictures are from operations we made on the coast of the South China Sea....some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. Crystal clear water, and absolutely unspoinled beaches. The only problem was that there were NVA operating in the area and we were sent in the find em'.

1. Burning Hootch: This picture is what we routinely did when we went into an area that was a known enemy camp. In this particular case, we leveled the village by fire and destroyed everytihing in sight.
2. On the Beach: This is probably the first frame of the series of this operation. We were dropped on a beach (and the sand was as white and pristine as you could imagine). Here, we're waiting to get word to "move out and form a skirmish line" to move through the village and check it out.
3. Letter Home: This picture (from a different operation) was a "quick grab" of a GI writing a letter home. We were probably stopped for a "SitRep" and this guy is taking whatever time available to get a letter written. Mail from home was undoubtedly the greatest morale booster of all. Even if it was addressed to "a soldier in vietnam" (random letter from unknown person), it was highly valued and a great morale booster.
I'll have to apologize for not putting something up for several days, but time seems to be getting more and more scarce.
I have three medical appointments with the VA over the course of the next 2 or 3 weeks, so it may take a while to get back on here. Rest assured, as long as there is an interest, I'll remain "On Duty". I'm really thinking about writing a rather long post about our training at the Army Photo School. I think it was very good training, but nothing like what you'd expect.
Signing Off .... for now, but "I Shall Return".
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08-08-2009, 05:32 PM   #128
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Thanks, and please keep posting! Would love to hear any of your thoughts (or shots) of the devastation to the environment from the war and perhaps napalm in particular.

08-09-2009, 12:03 AM   #129
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Just discovered this thread - please keep posting, its very fascinating reading and great with the pictures from your time in Nam.
The description of the pictures are great too, makes it so much more interesting.
08-09-2009, 01:21 AM   #130
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QuoteOriginally posted by JoeGray Quote
I'm normally more of a lurker than a poster, but I have to add that this is by far the most interesting, fascinating and captivating thread I've read on this Forum. Thank you so much for sharing you memories and stories. Please keep the photos and words flowing.

~ Joe
Welcome to the forum Joe.
08-09-2009, 10:18 PM   #131
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
I have three medical appointments with the VA over the course of the next 2 or 3 weeks, so it may take a while to get back on here.
Bob, hope it's just routine and hope your VA clinic/hospital is one of the good ones.

I'm sure you don't remember if he was a new guy but in the beach photo, one troop is right next to some vegetation breaking up his outline while the central soldier seems to be skylighting himself in the open. Was that a typical FNG mistake?

CW
08-10-2009, 06:10 AM   #132
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Straightshooter....
No, he wasn't a FNG, but in that shot we'd already secured the area. We were just waiting to get the word to "saddle up, and move out". His position was on the eastern most edge of our position, so the majority of our people were further to his left. This would have had him pretty well protected on that left side. His right side is pretty secure in that you could see for miles out to sea, and there wasn't anything there. Additionally, we had gunships and scoutships overhead at most all times and they stretched our perimeter out much further as they had an overhead view much further out.
I'll say however, "that's pretty observant" on your part! Most people wouldn't even have given a thought to the fact that he was "skylining" himself.
08-10-2009, 06:55 AM   #133
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Bob I also hope the VA appointments are nothing more than routine. I've come back to this thread each time you've posted and look forward to you next chapter(s). Interesting stuff.

Looking forward to the photo training post when you have the time. Enjoy your new K10D. Great camera in every respect.
08-10-2009, 07:19 AM   #134
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
I'll say however, "that's pretty observant" on your part! Most people wouldn't even have given a thought to the fact that he was "skylining" himself.
Comes from deer hunting. Plus Brother-career Army/Panama, Desert Storm (82nd, Ranger when he was young and foolish, was recruited by a group that doesn't officially exist at Bragg), Father-career Army/WW II, Grandfather-WW I, Great-grandfather-Spanish American War, Great great-grandfather-Civil War (Confederate), GreatX4 grandfather-Revolutionary War (Colonial). I'm sure there were some other minor scrapes the family managed to get into along the way.

CW

Last edited by straightshooter; 08-10-2009 at 08:01 AM.
08-10-2009, 07:20 AM   #135
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QuoteOriginally posted by straightshooter Quote
Comes from deer hunting. Plus Brother-career Army/Panama, Desert Storm (82nd, Ranger when he was young and foolish, was recruited by a group that doesn't officially exist at Bragg), Father-career Army, Grandfather-WW I, Great-grandfather-Spanish American War, Great great-grandfather-Civil War (Confederate), GreatX4 grandfather-Revolutionary War (Colonial). I'm sure there were some other minor scrapes the family managed to get into along the way.

CW
that's one heck of a history you have there.
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