Rare Photos of the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War which lasted for almost twenty years, was a war that happened in three countries; Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The war, also known as the Second Indochina War was fought between North and South Vietnam.
The North Vietnamese army had the support of the Soviet Union, China and other communist states, while South Vietnam had the support of the United States, Australia, Thailand, South Korea and other anti-communist countries.
The war was long and dirty. Countless people suffered. Here are the pictures that many people have never seen of the Vietnam War.
Pictured here are both sides of the war, meeting each other in what looks to be the Mekong Delta. The Viet Cong members are in the foreground, while the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) soldiers are seen in the background.
Near the outskirts of Saigon, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam shed their uniforms and shoes in order to hide their identities from their enemies. Here you can see how much material littered the ground. Drivers had to pass over the uniforms in order to drive to the other side.
Pictured here is an American Air Cavalry helicopter, airlifting supplies into an outpost during Operation Pegasus. The year was 1968, in Vietnam, at a Marine outpost. The red flag really contrasts the dark helicopter.
Pictured here are new recruits undergoing mandatory physical examinations in the city of Haiphong. At first the system only admitted volunteers. Service became mandatory in 1973; all able-bodied men had to be drafted.
Pictured here are soldiers during target practice; using overhead targets in the city of Thanh Tri. Although the rifles were not state-of-the-art, the Vietnamese were able to be a major thorn in the US’s side.
Pictured here are American jets dropping napalm on Viet Cong outposts, early on in the Vietnam war. Napalm is a flammable sticky gel, which was often used in bombs as well as flamethrowers.
Pictured here are US Army helicopters providing cover for South Vietnamese troops (on the ground) who are advancing into a Viet Cong camp. The camp was located near the Cambodian border.
Even women were part of the guerrilla. Pictured here is a Viet Cong (the North Vietnam army who fought against South Vietnam and the United States) guerrilla standing guard. This particular woman was not even 25 years old, but was widowed twice; both of her husbands were soldiers in the war.
Pictured here are construction workers, trying to repair the bombed Ham Rong Bridge in North Vietnam in 1973. The bridge was the only way across the Ma River for machinery and heavy trucks.
This picture shows newly-arrived United States Marines, on their way to help reinforce a South Vietnamese airbase which was battling guerrilla just three miles south (at the time). They arrived on the Red Beach at Da Nang.
Soldiers were not the only ones who suffered during the war. Families had to evacuate their homes, often without the help of their fathers, brothers and husbands who were drafted. Pictured here is a Vietnamese mother wading across the river with her four children.
Pictured here is Lance Cpl. James Farley shouting orders at his pilot after a firefight sometime in 1965. At his feet are his fellow soldiers who weren’t lucky enough to survive the exchange of gunfire.
Pictured here is a guerrilla rowing through the Mekong Delta. The dead trees are a result of Agent Orange, a form of herbicidal warfare used by the U.S. in order to remove the trees, therefore denying cover to the Viet Cong.
Soldiers from North Vietnam often walked the Ho Chi Minh Trail through the Truong Son Mountains, which were 750 miles long. This is why the soldiers referred to the trail are the Truong Son Road.
Pictured here is a military parachutist killed in battle in a jungle near the Cambodian border. He is being airlifted out by an evacuation helicopter in War Zone C in Vietnam.
Pictured here is Marine Sergeant Jeremiah Purdie (with the bandaged head) checking on his fellow soldier in arms, after an intense fight just south of the demilitarized zone in Vietnam (1966).
Executions were not done ceremoniously for most. Here, a South Vietnam general fires a shot into the head of a suspected Viet Cong officer on a street in the city of Saigon in 1968.
Because all able-bodies men were drafted to fight the war, it was not uncommon to see women doing the work reserved for their male counterparts. Here, two women are working together to provide food for their village.
The Laotian guerrilla was known to use elephants to provide supplies to the North Vietnamese Army troops near Route 9 in southern Laos.
Pictured here is a weeping widow who has just received news and a body bag (if one can refer to it as that) containing her husband’s body that was found in a mass grave. Her husband was killed during the Tet offensive.
While a sergeant directs the medical evacuation plane to a safe spot to land in, other soldiers help their fallen comrades up from the foliage. As is seen in the picture, many of the soldiers are wounded and in desperate need of medical attention.
Sticking with the poor soldiers who signed up to fight, here is one of them suffering through his injuries, awaiting medical evacuation at a base camp in the A Shau Valley. It was located near the Laos border in South Vietnam.
Pictured here are military members, sorting through the wreckage of a crashed US Navy plane, just outside Hanoi. Reports confirmed that the Lieutenant piloting the plane ejected before it crashed.
Operating rooms were sprung up in whatever spaces were available. Here is a victim of an American bombing being carried into a mangrove operating room on the Ca Mau Peninsula.
Pictured here is a CIA employee helping Vietnamese evacuees into an Air America helicopter on a rooftop on 22 Gia Long Street. All the evacuees did not make it onto the helicopter due to space issues.
Pictured here is a severely wounded South Vietnamese Marine who got hurt in a Viet Cong ambush. He is being held by his fellow soldier in arms at a sugar cane field 12 minutes outside of Saigon.
Here are members of the North Vietnamese Army fleeing in southern Laos during Operation Lam Son 719; the South’s failed attempt to cut off access to, from and across the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Pictured here is a guerilla outpost on the Cambodia-Vietnam border. Said border is protected by poisoned bamboo stake, hardened by fire and adorned with barbed wire. There were often poisoned stakes in the ground, acting as booby traps in the ground.
Pictured here is a captured Viet Cong prisoner who was found during the Battle of Cape Batangan. He has been blindfolded and was awaiting transfer to a US compound. The picture was taken in 1965.
Pictured here is protester Jan Rose Kasmir, as she confront the National Guard of America in 1967. She and some others gathered outside the Pentagon for the anti-Vietnam march in Washington.
This picture was taken during the Battle of Saigon in 1968. The battle was between the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong, against Saigon on the capital of Vietnam. Many civilians were wounded during the battle.
Pictured here is Lieutenant Robert L. Stirm as he is reunited with his family. Stirm was a prisoner of war and was released and sent to California to meet his family on March 17th 1973.
Pictured here is a North Vietnamese tank as it rolls through the Presidential Palace of Saigon. This action signified the fall of South Vietnam in April 1975.
Pictured here are just recently arrived US Marines, rushing to secure the area around the Defense Attache Office in Tan Son Nhut in Saigon. The area had to be secured in order to evacuate the last Americans left in Saigon.
Pictured here are hundreds of people who crowded the streets outside the US Embassy in South Vietnam. They were attempting to get over the gates to try to board the last helicopters leaving the country.
Here are more civilians crowding the US Embassy in the hopes of getting through its gates before the takeover of the area began. The last helicopters with American citizens were just leaving the city.
A mad dash and desperation as the citizens of Saigon try their hardest to get near the helicopter zone at the US Embassy.
Unlike the Vietnamese citizens, the remaining US civilians in Saigon walk calmly to their designated meeting spot for evacuation out of the city. The journalists in the picture were told to be at the evacuation zone for noon.
As soon as the last of the Americans were gone, the US Embassy was raided and looted for everything of value within its walls. Seen here are the South Vietnamese civilians rushing out with chairs, bins and just about anything they could get their hands on.
Pictured here are a few of the women who raided former US installations in Saigon after the evacuation. They stole mainly food, one of the most important items in the country at the time.
Pictured here are US Marines, told to hit the deck to prevent being hit by metal flying from a South Vietnamese helicopter which crashed on the deck of the USS Blue Ridge.
Here, US Marines are pushing a Vietnamese helicopter into the ocean to make room for more evacuation flights coming in from Saigon. The helicopter was carrying Vietnamese people fleeing from Saigon as the North Vietnamese armies drew closer.
Pictured here is the chaos that was rampant as the troops closed in on Saigon. This was one of the last ships on the Saigon waterfront, which is evident by how desperate people were to get on board.
Soldiers were seen as heroes to both the young and the old during the war. Some made delays in their duties to perform acts of kindness to the civilians. Seen here is a brave American soldier, protecting defenseless Vietnamese children on their journey.
During the Vietnam war, helicopter pilots often had to find alternative places to land their crafts in order to deliver supplies and pick up cargo. Pictured here is a soldier instructing the pilots on how to land on what looks to be a deserted dirt road.
The war was far from luxurious. Tasteless food rations were eaten in order to absorb nutrients and fresh water sources had to be exploited when they became available. Pictured here are four soldiers standing in the rain, trying to collect some fresh water to drink.
The natives of Vietnam did not have it easy during the decades that the Vietnam war went on for. They had to eat, sleep and hide in hovels, caves and gutters in order to remain safe. The high death toll was not just due to violent causes. Many people died of starvation and illnesses.
Medics may have had it the hardest during the war. They had to be able to defend themselves, as well as save their fellow brothers in arms when the time came for it. Pictured here are two soldiers waiting on the help of a medic.
Every now and then the soldiers would hold little ceremonies for their fallen brothers who unfortunately lost their lives during the battle. It was emotional and very difficult on the soldiers, who then had to pick themselves up and keep on fighting.
It's understandable that soldiers would take every chance they got to enjoy a joke or two. Pictured here are two soldiers prepping a sign that tells their enemies that they're taking a break from the war on Christmas day, and that they'll be back the day after.
One of the many admirable traits of the US soldiers who fought in the war was that they left no man behind. Pictured here are twosoldiers helping two of their wounded brothers get to a med evac.
Wive and girlfriends had no place on the battlefield during those times; they still don't. But the soldiers did have room for dirty mangazines when they felt an extra bit lonely than usual.
As if worrying about losing your life to aggressive natives wasn't enough, the creatures in the jungles of Vietnam were not of the friendly sort. This gigantic creature (most likely a centipede) was found by a US soldier. Doesn't it just send shivers through your spine?
When the call of war sounded, you just had to drop what you were doing and get going. This soldier however, decided to enjoy a cigarette as he was suiting up for war. We can't say we blame him.
Being shut out from the world in an army tank could not have been fun. Which is why we totally understand why this soldier has decided to come up for some fresh air and sunlight.
Pictured here are US Marines running drills aboard their home base in the ocean. They're firing their weapons out into the see in what seems to be a target practice drill of some sort.
Pictured here are thousands of Americans gathered near the grounds of the Washington Monument to hear what Ernest Gruening had to say about the Vietnam War.
Pictured here are the coffins of nine American soldiers killed during the war. The funeral services were held at the Saigon Airport where the US Ambassador (Maxwell Taylor) and Vietnamese officials were in attendance.
Buddhist monk Reverend Thich Quang Duc, soaked himself in gasoline and set himself ablaze in front of hundreds of onlookers at a main Saigon intersection in 1963.