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Candid Photos Of The U.S Soldiers During The Vietnam War

In contrast to most photographs of the Vietnam War that still haunt and reverberates decades later, such as the Victims of Agent Orange. These pictures show soldiers relaxing, showing off their squalid jungle living quarters, playing with the Vietnamese children, reveling in a rare ocean swim and enjoying. There is nothing chilling about the Vietnam War. No shots like Nick Ut’s of a naked Vietnamese girl fleeing from a napalm bombing or Eddie Adams’s shot of a Saigon police chief firing a bullet into the head of a Viet Cong prisoner.

Yet these photographs were taken not by professionals but by young grunts barely out of high school. Grinning wide-eyed at this strange land where they had been sent, often against their will, in circumstances they did not fully understand.

#1 A U.S.O. performance at Fire Base Rawlings. Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. November 1969.

A U.S.O. performance at Fire Base Rawlings. Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam. November 1969.

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#2 The Quang Tri River seen from a Huey helicopter. Vietnam.

The Quang Tri River seen from a Huey helicopter. Vietnam.

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#3 Marvin De Witt with two puppies. Special Forces camp, Tay Ninh, Vietnam.

Marvin De Witt with two puppies. Special Forces camp, Tay Ninh, Vietnam.

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#4 A wounded Kit Carson Scout, waiting for a helicopter medical evacuation. Vietnam. 1969.

A wounded Kit Carson Scout, waiting for a helicopter medical evacuation. Vietnam. 1969.

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#5 The pilots. From left, Capt. Tom Boatman, 1st Lt. John Morrissey, Capt. Charlie Copin, Capt. Matt Kelch, 1st Lt. Sam Waters, Capt. Ray Moss, 1st Lt. Frank Tullo, Maj. Bill Hosmer.

The pilots. From left, Capt. Tom Boatman, 1st Lt. John Morrissey, Capt. Charlie Copin, Capt. Matt Kelch, 1st Lt. Sam Waters, Capt. Ray Moss, 1st Lt. Frank Tullo, Maj. Bill Hosmer.

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#6 A Vietnamese boy’s daily work, along highway QL-19 near An Khe Pass.

A Vietnamese boy’s daily work, along highway QL-19 near An Khe Pass.

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#7 Light at night used to detect Viet Cong activity during the Tet offensive. Ninh Hoa, Vietnam. 1968.

Light at night used to detect Viet Cong activity during the Tet offensive. Ninh Hoa, Vietnam. 1968.

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#8 A Viet Cong prisoner held for interrogation at Landing Zone Stinson. Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam.

A Viet Cong prisoner held for interrogation at Landing Zone Stinson. Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam.

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#9 Mortar battalion. Cambodia. May 1970.

Mortar battalion. Cambodia. May 1970.

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#10 Inside Cambodia, near the Memot District. May 1970.

Inside Cambodia, near the Memot District. May 1970.

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#11 Heading-home hug. An Ninh, Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam.

Heading-home hug. An Ninh, Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam.

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#12 Joe Kempt, at Fire Support Base Wood 3. Near Tay Ninh, Vietnam.

Joe Kempt, at Fire Support Base Wood 3. Near Tay Ninh, Vietnam.

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#13 The photographer’s helmet, with two bullet holes. Fire Base L.Z. Stinson, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam.

The photographer’s helmet, with two bullet holes. Fire Base L.Z. Stinson, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam.

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#14 Bob Hope, U.S.O. Christmas show. 4258th Heavy Bombardment Wing, Utapao Royal Thai Naval Air Station, Thailand. December 1969.

Bob Hope, U.S.O. Christmas show. 4258th Heavy Bombardment Wing, Utapao Royal Thai Naval Air Station, Thailand. December 1969.

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#15 After filling sandbags for bunkers at a base camp by the South China Sea near Ninh Hoa, Vietnam. 1968.

After filling sandbags for bunkers at a base camp by the South China Sea near Ninh Hoa, Vietnam. 1968.

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#16 Coke kid and the photographer’s platoon leader, Lieutenant Timor, with his radio telephone operator. Vietnam. February 1969.

Coke kid and the photographer’s platoon leader, Lieutenant Timor, with his radio telephone operator. Vietnam. February 1969.

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#17 Michael Patrick Eltrich in trees in the mountains west of L.Z. Stinson. June 11, 1970.

Michael Patrick Eltrich in trees in the mountains west of L.Z. Stinson. June 11, 1970.

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#18 Men whom the photographer was stationed with at Phu Bai, taken on his last night at Fort Lewis. August 1968.

Men whom the photographer was stationed with at Phu Bai, taken on his last night at Fort Lewis. August 1968.

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#19 A Vietnamese man with marigolds. Qui Nhon, Vietnam.

A Vietnamese man with marigolds. Qui Nhon, Vietnam.

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#20 Taken while on a mission, with Black Virgin Mountain in view on the left. Cambodia.

Taken while on a mission, with Black Virgin Mountain in view on the left. Cambodia.

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#21 Gene Bailey swimming in the South China Sea, near Ninh Hoa, Vietnam. 1968.

Gene Bailey swimming in the South China Sea, near Ninh Hoa, Vietnam. 1968.

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#22 At Marble Mountain Air Compound. Vietnam. 1970.

At Marble Mountain Air Compound. Vietnam. 1970.

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#23 Brian Mowatt and his sentry dog, Prince, running the exercise course at the Army sentry dog kennels. Nha Trang, Vietnam.

Brian Mowatt and his sentry dog, Prince, running the exercise course at the Army sentry dog kennels. Nha Trang, Vietnam.

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#24 A Viet Cong couple, blindfolded. Vietnam.

A Viet Cong couple, blindfolded. Vietnam.

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#25 After the gunships were called in. Northern I-Corps, Vietnam. 1969.

After the gunships were called in. Northern I-Corps, Vietnam. 1969.

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#26 Larry Diesburg taking a smoking break after filling sandbags near Binh Long, Vietnam.

Larry Diesburg taking a smoking break after filling sandbags near Binh Long, Vietnam.

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#27 Batting practice. Landing Zone Bayonet, near Chu Lai, Vietnam.

Batting practice. Landing Zone Bayonet, near Chu Lai, Vietnam.

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#28 My home while on L.Z. Stinson Fire Base.” Company B, 52nd Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division. Vietnam. 1970-71.

My home while on L.Z. Stinson Fire Base.” Company B, 52nd Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division. Vietnam. 1970-71.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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