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The war in Vietnam in pictures by Horst Faas

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Famous picture of Vietnamese kids and US marine by Horst FaasHorst Faas was an outstanding war photographer. His brilliant photos won the Pulitzer award twice. Combat photography of the war in South Viet Nam during 1964 won the first prize. This publication at Oldpics focuses on Vietnamese series by Horst Faas.

The glory of the war cameramen

Horst Faas was a talented photographer. Not even just a talented, but, rather, a brilliant front-line correspondent. They’re not so many masters of the level of Horst Faas. We can compare his photography with war essays of Eugene Smith, Eddie Adams, Susan Meiselas

The Vietnam photos made Horst Faas world-known. He worked at AP for decades, and its editor-in-chief Caitlyn Carroll said that Horst was perhaps his most irreplaceable employee and an excellent friend.

Women and children hiding in a ditch at Bao Trai, 20 miles west of Saigon

Women and children hiding in a ditch at Bao Trai, 20 miles west of Saigon, January 1, 1966

Mixed army feelings about Horst Faas

Faas didn’t try to show US soldiers as heroes all the time. And here’s why some officers didn’t like his photography. “This is a terrible photo,” complained one of the commanders. “I don’t want these pictures of my squad. Soldiers look sleepy and tired. They are in a fighting squad.”

Faas tried to explain that their exhaustion reflects their combat experience; six months later, this photograph became so popular that the same commander invited Faasa once more to take new pictures of his platoon.

The site of a bomb explosion at the US Embassy in Saigon

The site of a bomb explosion at the US Embassy in Saigon, March 30, 1965.

A deadly risk

Faas risked all the way to take his photographs. And there’s at least one case when he was just lucky enough to survive. On December 6, 1967, he was wounded in the legs by an anti-tank grenade in Bu Dopa, South Vietnam. A young American doctor managed to stop the bleeding, recalling this event when meeting with Faas 20 years later. The doc said: “You were so gray and pale, I thought you’re finished.”

Horst Faas is approaching a helicopter after a whole day spent with US rangers

Horst Faas is approaching a helicopter after a whole day spent with US rangers

Horst Faas in Vietnam, 1967

Horst Faas in Vietnam, 1967

Horst Faas walking together with US marines, 1966

Horst Faas walking together with US marines, 1966

Horst Faas as a playing photo coach

While recuperating, Faas was recruiting and training Vietnamese volunteer photographers.

Huynh Thanh My was among his most famous protégé. An actor switched to photography who died in 1965. Faas trained his younger brother Huynh Cong “Nick” Ut then. His image ‘Napalm girl’ won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972.

Horst Faas was a smart planner and tried to ensure the safety of his journalists. As one of his colleagues put it, “not only calculating what would happen next but also what would happen after.”

Horst Faas was a few yards behind his Associated Press colleague Eddie Adams in Saigon when he snapped his most famous picture. He captured the moment when a Vietnamese police officer executed a suspected Viet Cong officer on the street. This image is among the Top 100 most influential photos in history, according to Time magazine.

When the Vietnam War ended, Horst Faas wanted to leave his horrible memories in the past. He returned there only once, in 1978, and subsequently as a tourist. He said that his mission was “to capture the suffering, emotion, and sacrifice of both the Americans and the Vietnamese people.”

US Marines flee from the crash site of a CH-46 helicopter shot down near the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam

US Marines flee from the crash site of a CH-46 helicopter shot down near the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam on July 15, 1966.

Horst Faas photo of a Wounded American soldiers on a battlefield in Vietnam on April 2, 1967.

Wounded American soldiers on a battlefield in Vietnam on April 2, 1967.

Survivors of two days of heavy fighting in Dong Huo, civilians gather after an attack by government forces, June 1965

Survivors of two days of heavy fighting in Dong Huo, civilians gather after an attack by government forces, June 1965

The body of a killed American soldier on the battlefield in Vietnam

The body of an American soldier on the battlefield in Vietnam, April 2, 1967.

Landing light from medical evacuation helicopter cuts through smoke of battle for Bu Dop, South Vietnam, silhouetting U.S. troops moving the most seriously wounded to the landing Zone on November 30, 1967.

Landing light from medical evacuation helicopter cuts through smoke of battle for Bu Dop, South Vietnam, silhouetting U.S. troops moving the most seriously wounded to the landing Zone on November 30, 1967.

South Vietnamese government troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 36th Infantry sleep in a U.S. Navy troop carrier on their way back to the Provincial capital of Ca Mau, Vietnam.

South Vietnamese government troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 36th Infantry sleep in a U.S. Navy troop carrier on their way back to the Provincial capital of Ca Mau, Vietnam.

South Vietnamese troops, joined by US advisers, rest after a cold, wet and tense night of waiting in the dense jungle around the town of Binh Gia, 60 km from Saigon, Vietnam, in January 1965.

South Vietnamese troops, joined by US advisers, rest after a cold, wet, and tense night of waiting in the dense jungle around the town of Binh Gia, 60 km from Saigon, Vietnam, in January 1965.

In this March 1965 photo, U.S. Army helicopters provide artillery cover to advancing South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border.

In this March 1965 photo, U.S. Army helicopters provide machine gun cover to pushing South Vietnamese ground troops.

Cong at the Michelin rubber plantation, about 45 miles northeast of Saigon.

Vietnamese soldiers had to wear the face mask while passing through the road covered with bodies.

Children ride home from school past the bodies of 15 dead Viet Cong soldiers and their commander in the village of An Ninh in Vietnam's Hau Nghia province on May 8, 1972.

Children drive home from school gazing at the bodies Viet Cong soldiers and their commander in the village of An Ninh in Vietnam’s Hau Nghia province on May 8, 1972.

Artillery troops of the new South Vietnamese 25th division line up for a parade in front of 105 and 155 Howitzers in the coastal town of Quang Nai, South Vietnam, a Viet Cong stronghold, on August 15, 1962.

Artillery squads of the new South Vietnamese 25th division line up for a parade in front of 105 and 155 Howitzers in the coastal town of Quang Nai, South Vietnam, a Viet Cong stronghold, on August 15, 1962.

Horst Faas photo of American soldiers guard Route 7 as Vietnamese women and children return home to Xuan Dien village from Ben Khat, Vietnam, December 1965.

American soldiers guard Route 7 as Vietnamese women and children return home to Xuan Dien village from Ben Khat, Vietnam, in December 1965.

American POWs at Li Nam De Street camp in Hanoi, North Vietnam, March 1973.

American POWs at Li Nam De Street camp in Hanoi, North Vietnam, March 1973.

Horst Faas photo of American Lieutenant Colonel George Easter is carried on a stretcher after being wounded by a Viet Cong sniper in Chung Lap, South Vietnam, January 16, 1966.

American Lieutenant Colonel George Easter getting aid after a Viet Cong sniper shot in Chung Lap, South Vietnam, January 16, 1966.

A wounded Vietnamese ranger is ready with his weapon to answer a Viet Cong attack during battle in Dong Xoai on June 11, 1965.

A wounded Vietnamese ranger is ready with his weapon, during the battle in Dong Xoai on June 11, 1965.

A Vietnamese medic jumps from a secure position behind a rice paddy dike, crossing a swampy paddy under fire from Viet Cong guerrillas, August 8, 1966. He was coming to the aid of wounded regional forces.

A Vietnamese doctor leaps from a secure position behind a rice paddy dike. Viet Cong snipers were covering the area with fire, August 8, 1966.

Horst Faas photo of South Vietnamese woman mourns over the body of her husband, found with 47 others in a mass grave near Hue, Vietnam.

A South Vietnamese woman cries over the body of her spouse. He was among 47 others in a mass grave near Hue, Vietnam.

A South Vietnamese soldier hits a farmer with a dagger for giving false information to government forces about the movement of Viet Cong guerrillas in a village west of Saigon, Vietnam on January 9, 1964.

A South Vietnamese soldier hits a farmer with a dagger for giving false information to government forces about the movement of Viet Cong guerrillas in a village west of Saigon, Vietnam on January 9, 1964.

A battalion scoured Trung Jap, northwest of Saigon, for information on a Vietcong force in the area. A Vietcong bride was arrested, blindfolded and bound, when troopers saw her hiding a bag.

A battalion is inspecting the Trung Jap, northwest of Saigon. They’ve got information on Vietcong forces in the area. A Vietcong bride was arrested, blindfolded, and bound when troopers saw her hiding a bag with a bomb.

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