The Vietnam War was one of the most polarizing conflicts in the history of the United States. A foreign war fought in a foreign land, this battle had a unique backdrop that provided multiple culture clashes between the soldiers and the natives. These photos present a unique look into the war that killed thousands of Americans and Vietnamese alike, and the people, places, and things these people did during the roughly 20-year conflict. There are so many moments that happened to the soldiers and people that were captured on camera, moments that did not always include battle but times when they were relaxing or trying to think of a better place than the situation that they were in.
There are moments of tears and moments of laughter, it is human nature to try and find the solace in a terrible situation and that is exactly what these images capture. This war was a huge black mark on the history of the United States as an entire generation handed over their youth in one of the only mandatory conscriptions in the country’s history. What went on over there was kept under wraps for a very long time due to the trauma of it all, now more and more images are surfacing as time has passed and the wounds are beginning to be changed into memories and memories alone. These photos are haunting, we caution you.
For everyone involved, especially young civilians, the Vietnam War was an absolutely traumatic experience. Pictured here is a soldier trying to keep a group quiet and calm.
Breaking For Ball
The troops often found ways to boost morale during the downtime between battles, and that included playing a friendly game of baseball.
Mother Nature’s Gift
It seemed as if the rain just wouldn’t stop falling at times during the war, but many took advantage and used it to quench their thirst.
When Nightmares Became a Reality
Having to hide from enemy troops was a particularly terrifying time for civilians, like this group of South Vietnamese women. Even babies became victims
Packed Like Sardines
While journeying from the US to Vietnam, soldiers were crammed into bunks on ships like sardines in a can, leaving little room to move and find a comfortable position.
A Far Too Common Expression
Seeing soldiers on the ground expressing their anguish and discomfort was a common but dismal scene in Vietnam.
Activists in the Nam Can Forest donned masks to keep their identities hidden as a precaution for being captured and interrogated.
Hiding From the Enemy
On the outskirts of Saigon, countless soldiers from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam abandoned their uniforms in an attempt to hide their identities.
As horrifying as war can be, many were still able to keep their humor! These two cracked a joke with a sign over the Christmas holiday.
A band playing during the war? You may have never thought a scene like this would pop up amidst battles, but men utilized their free time to the fullest to keep the morale high.
Human Weren’t The Only Enemies
Sometimes soldiers came across different types of enemies during the Vietnam War, like this creepy crawler. Only a few would dare to pick a creature like this up!
The Look of Innocence
The innocence of young Vietnamese civilians helped keep troops’ spirits high during the worst of times when the calamity of war became too overwhelming.
Quick Shave Break
Even during the war, men found time to stay groomed. This man, named Dick Jackson, tragically lost his lost in 1968 at the young age of 20.
Gearing Up For Repairs
Check out these suits. Pictured here are several men discussing the repairs needed to be done on the bombed Ham Rong bridge in central North Vietnam.
No Man Left Behind
When you’re a soldier, your comrades are your family. This photo perfectly depicts the determination and compassion men had for each other on the battlefield.
Days were long, hot, and tiring during the war, so having a few minutes to get some sleep was an opportunity soldiers just couldn’t pass up.
Limbs Left Behind
Millions of soldiers and civilians combined lost their lives during the Vietnam War, and many lucky to survive returned home with missing limbs and burns on their bodies.
Teeth Stained Red
Older Vietnamese women in a position of authority were referred to as “Mama-san” by US troops. If you look closely, you can see that this woman’s teeth were stained red from chewing Betel leaves and Areca nuts, a symbol of love and marriage in Vietnam.
Peace Before Insanity
Slowly falling through the air before hitting the battleground was both a peaceful and fearful time for troops knowing they may never return home.
Guiding For Supplies
Receiving food and supplies was crucial during the 20-year-long war. Safely directing helicopters to land, as well as flying them, were certainly stressful and difficult tasks.