The Life Side Of Vietnam; Unique Photos By Charlie Haughey
Available in pulp (but you’ll need to search for it) and in an iOS app, A Weather Walked In, the photo collection of Charlie Haughey captures a side of the Vietnam Conflict not often seen.His collection not only graces the pages of his book and the app by the same name but has appeared in art galleries and countless websites.
As much value as we place in the iconic shots taken during this time in history, there is a unique perspective offered in the stories told by Haughey’s shots. They share not only the untold anecdotes of the conflict but give us a glimpse into the Haughey’s heart. As he describes them, these pictures capture the life side of the war, not the side of death.
Haughey served his tour of duty in Vietnam from March 1968 to May of 1969. He was a rifleman in the 25th Infantry Division 2nd Battalion 12th Infantry until his commanding officer asked something else of him. The man asked him to take inspirational pictures of Vietnam, something to boost morale.
By the time Haughey went home, he had over 2000 negatives. Those negatives sat undeveloped for forty years… what follows are just a handful.
Real Vietnamese people going about their lives as best they can in the middle of a war. If I didn’t know better, I might assume they were content with life. Perhaps they know something we don’t.
Victim to the use of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, this rubber tree plantation is decimated from the damage of war. Not only to forests, defoliant caused uncountable health problems for the people with whom it came in contact. In recent history, 2012, the United States has teamed up with Vietnam to clean up areas of the country still ravaged by the damage.
They say shots without people in them are boring, which is probably why most of Haughey’s capture the people in action. This aerial shot, however, is a great distance from boring.
As an act of active defense, The U.S. military outfitted personnel carriers, trucks called M132s, with flame throwers. They called the devices “flame tracks,” which shot fire like a hose into the brush on the side of the road. This kept the carriers safe from ambush.
Roadside Chit Chat
Vietnamese women talk to a G.I. roadside. He is part of the escort for a supply convoy. Many soldiers learned to speak enough Vietnamese to facilitate basic communication. Incorporating Vietnamese words into the daily banter between soldiers was common.
Framed by a net of barbed wire, Haughey captured this boy riding his bike. If you strip away the wire, he could be a kid on any street, anywhere in the world.
Fields of View
A rifle platoon, presumably Haughey’s, hiding a field. By the end of it, over 58,200 American soldiers died in the Vietnam conflict.
See No Evil
The insane paradox of the Vietnam Conflict was that it took place in a country in the tropical region. Like Costa Rica or Thailand, the war layered over a world of beauty. Fern and fauna existed everywhere. It was normal for soldiers to acquisition dogs they found, but I don’t know about monkeys.
Life Goes On
For many people in Vietnam, especially kids, the war had lasted their whole lives. Despite the chaos, life had to go on. Normal aspects of life, like farming, and going to school persevered.
This formation of the 116th division, otherwise known as The Hornets, wears the insignia of their nickname on the noses of their helicopters. Pilots held one of the most dangerous jobs in Vietnam. In the air, divisions like the 116 were target practice for the North Vietnamese.
U.S. soldiers, in what appears to be a helicopter, probably the 116th, point at something in the distance. Considering there were 2000 negatives and four decades between Haughey and each shot, connecting the dots for each story would have been impossible. The image tells the whole story.
If you want to know more about Haughey or his work, you can check out this page. Obviously, his pictures tell the whole story. This is only a handful of them.