The war in Vietnam was a long and brutal conflict, fought by brave soldiers fighting for their country. Unfortunately, for many of the soldiers their time in Vietnam was filled with both horror and sadness.
In the early 1960s, the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) was in desperate need of a professional military force to support its fledgling government. A small group of Vietnamese officers, recruited by the United States, trained at the Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning Georgia and were sent to Vietnam to become the first Vietnamese soldiers to fight in the Vietnam war.
…The last time the U.S. Army deployed on a large scale to a combat zone, they were the United States Army of the 1970s. The U.S. Army of the 1960s and 1970s was the army who fought in Vietnam. It was and still is the army that came of age in the second half of the 20th century. The U.S. Army of today is different, and, in many ways, far better.
With his camera next to his rifle, an infantryman documents the daily life of soldiers at war
When James Allen Logue went to Vietnam as an infantryman in 1969-1970, he took with him a rifle, a backpack, and a Nikonnos 35mm camera.
He gave up his camera when the fighting began, but in the camps, in the villages, in the sun and in the rain, he took pictures of the landscape, of civilians, and of his comrades in Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, 23rd (U.S.) Infantry Division.
In the field and at his mountain base in the western landing zone of Quang Tin Province in northern South Vietnam, Jim took over 2,500 black and white and color photos that would save his life decades later when he and I began our long journey together.
- CaptainJohn A. W. Wilson leads Alpha to the village on 14. May 1970 after a four-day march without rations. After receiving their supplies, the company advanced and was ambushed. An American was killed.
- Spc. 4 Nathaniel Donaldson was known for his playing skills and stylish attire: a boonie hat and sunglasses.
- It wasn’t until decades later, when he enlarged this photo, that Logue noticed that one of the teens was holding a grenade.
- members of Alpha and others will fly on the 29th. April 1970 aboard a CH-47 Chinook helicopter to the battlefield to fight 2nd Army.
- Logue calls this painting his favorite because it depicts men with whom he has formed strong bonds. In this clearing in the jungle, Company Commander Wilson (center left) talks to Alpha.
- TheDonut Dollies often fly by helicopter to the firebases, bringing Kool-Aid and games for interaction with the soldiers. Donut doll Kathryn Beckwith is dating Sergeant Ben Perry.
- Alpha searched the remote Khojas for enemy supplies. When nothing was found, the GI soldiers took advantage of the shade and handed out candy to the kids. If they saw enemy supplies in the hatches, the Zippo soldiers lit them with a Zippo lighter. The families were sent to other places.
- Enemy fired from this hut on Alpha, where soldiers advanced and found ammunition. The Zippo team burned it.
- Doc Pruett, wearing a necklace with peace symbols, uses tweezers to feed a newborn bird that has fallen out of its nest.
- Logue shows contact sheets of exposed 35mm film. He liked to use Kodak Tri-X, a fast film for moving shots and low light shooting.
After a career spanning four decades as a photographer, his long-kept photographs of Vietnam helped him banish the frightening nature of post-traumatic stress disorder from his soul.
On the advice of a Veterans advisor, Jim dug up his war photos and saw them for what they were: The images of a violent conflict, are now no more than innocent prisoners on a computer screen.
But what about the Alpha Warriors he froze forever in their youth?
This issue has taken us on a national odyssey. We said goodbye to our wives and went to America to interview all the Alpha soldiers we could find who were willing to talk to us. We found 70 of them. Over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table, many veterans began: I never said anything about Vietnam.
Then they talked for hours about their lives before, during and after the war. With Jim, they laughed and cried, and all said they were proud of their service.
His words and mine, along with Jim’s beautiful photographs, were compiled into the book Rain in Our Hearts, published by Texas Tech University Press in Lubbock, near the campus of the Sam Johnson Vietnam Center and Archives. V
This article appeared in the April 2023 issue of Vietnam Magazine. For more articles from Vietnam Magazine, subscribe here and visit us on Facebook :
In June of 1965, the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam as the first United States ground combat unit to serve there. As the first unit to deploy, the 9th Infantry established a number of traditions that soon became standard. These include the “wearing of the leaves” and the wearing of the sunbonnet by the women of the battalion.. Read more about vietnam pictures today and let us know what you think.
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