Vietnam’s My Tho in 1969 Through the Lens of an American Soldier

During the Vietnam War, an American GI, Private 1st Class Lance V. Nix, was drafted to serve. However, his contribution to history extends beyond his military service. Nix took an unusual approach to his time off-duty. Armed not just with standard military gear but also with a camera, he embarked on a mission to capture the essence of local life in Vietnam.

My Tho, Vietnam

The city of My Tho, located in the Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, became the primary stage for Nix’s photography. This area, known for its agricultural richness and scenic river views, presented a stark contrast to the typical war-torn images associated with Vietnam during this era.

Nix’s photographs, taken between 1968 and 1969, diverge from the common narrative of the Vietnam War. Instead of focusing on combat operations, his lens was pointed towards the daily life of the local Vietnamese. His collection provides a vibrant glimpse into the everyday experiences during a period of significant turmoil.

The images showcase bustling markets, with vendors and buyers engaging in daily commerce. Streets and marketplaces are filled with an array of goods, highlighting the economic activities that continued despite the ongoing conflict. Moreover, Nix’s photos capture the townspeople in various aspects of their daily routines, offering a sense of normalcy during war.

Particularly striking are the photographs of children. These images depict the innocence and joy of youth, contrasting sharply with the overarching theme of war. The children, often seen playing or interacting with one another, represent a hopeful element in a time overshadowed by conflict.

#1 Two children posing at Mekong Riverfront, My Tho, southeast, circa 1969.

#2 Fish gleaning from drying rain ponds, Binh Duc airstrip, My Tho, 1969.

#3 Women walking by military operational center, My Tho, 1969.

#4 Captain Kozak, Lieutenant Short at Chinese lunch, Dinh Tuong Province, 1969.

#5 My Tho’s downtown market, Dinh Tuong Province, Vietnam, 1969.

#6 Downtown market scene, My Tho, Dinh Tuong Province, Vietnam, 1969.

#7 Decorative vegetables for Tet festivities, My Tho market, 1969.

#8 Marigold vendors for TET celebration, My Tho market, 1969.

#9 Sidewalk fast food, mid-day at My Tho market, 1969.

#12 French bread in My Tho, a remnant of colonial days, 1969.

#13 Flower girls at My Tho marketplace, Dinh Tuong Province, 1969.

#18 Riverfront fast food in My Tho, Mekong River, 1969.

#19 Public park by Mekong River, southeast My Tho, 1969.

#21 Southeast corner of My Tho, fronting Mekong River.

#22 Ferry ride to Kien Hoa Province, meeting with Saigon visitors, 1969.

#23 South Vietnamese war boat, Coconut Monk’s island, near My Tho.

#24 Coconut Monk in tower, “floating” platform, Mekong River, near My Tho.

#26 Coconut Monk devotees holding services, “floating” platform, 1969.

#27 Water taxi approaching Kien Hoa Province, Coconut Monk’s island.

#28 Entrance to Coconut Monk’s complex, “floating” refuge, 1969.

#29 Southeast corner of My Tho, fronting Mekong River.

#30 Lance V. Nix, Embassy House, My Tho, December 1968.

#31 Street view, MACV Team 66 residence, Hotel 1, My Tho city.

#32 Lance V. Nix, Veterans Day 2014, Fort Ord, California.

Avatar of Kevin Clark

Written by Kevin Clark

Kevin Clark is a historian and writer who is passionate about sharing the stories and significance behind historical photos. He loves to explore hidden histories and cultural contexts behind the images, providing a unique insight into the past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *